Barbara Rittner, the Head of Women's Tennis in Germany, says she is looking forward to the participation of fellow German and former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber at the US Open in New York next week. The 32 year old Kerber has not played since the Australian Open in January.
She was suffering from a leg injury due to which she withdrew from the Indian Wells event prior to its cancellation and post that, the tennis circuit was suspended until earlier this month. While having doubts about travelling to New York earlier, the German announced a few days ago on social media that she would compete in the US Open.
"I can’t wait to get back on the court and compete. This is why I and my team have decided to take on the challenge and fly to NYC in a few days! Thanks to WTA and USTA for their huge effort to make this a safe event."
Barbara Rittner on Angelique Kerber's chances at the US Open
According to the Tennisnet website, Rittner says, "This shows once again how much the fire is still burning in her. She has no pressure at all. I expect her to do a lot."
Rittner admits that the tournament will be a tricky one for Kerber, and other players, who will be playing a Grand Slam without fans for the first time in their careers. "She is experienced enough, but she has never had this situation.
She will be playing at the US Open and for the first time in her career, she will be playing without an audience. And that too in a special place where she has already experienced this extreme euphoria. " Kerber recently reunited with former coach Torben Beltz, who was with her during her 2016 US Open win.
Rittner said she considers Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka to be the favourite for the women's singles title this year, even ahead of Serena Williams, who will be aiming to win her 24th Grand Slam title and equal the record of Margaret Court.
"Naomi Osaka is a top favorite, even ahead of Serena Williams, because I think she is physically stronger." Angelique Kerber, the No. 17 seed, will meet Australian Ajla Tomljanović in the first round at the US Open which gets underway at Flushing Meadows on Monday.