Angelique Kerber believes she is well and truly back, and is again a force to be reckoned with, despite her loss to world No. 1 Simona Halep in the Australian Open semi-finals.
The German, who won the tournament in 2016, had a form slump last year that saw her plunge down the rankings from being world number one at the start of 2017.
But a win in the lead-up Sydney International and a run to the last four at the opening Grand Slam of the year has been enough to convince her that she is again a force to be reckoned with.
“I know that I’m back,” she said after pushing world number one Halep to the brink in her 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 defeat, fashioning two match points but unable to convert either.
“I know that I can play again good tennis in front of amazing crowds and play tough matches, winning also matches where I’m down and fighting until the last point.
“For me, the most important thing is that I’m again on court, and I’m fighting.
“I gave my heart there. I really enjoyed every single moment.
“You have to play your best every single day. I think that’s what I did it every single day here when I was here in Australia.”
Kerber is projected to race up the rankings to number nine from her current 16 when they are released after the tournament.
She said she was most satisfied with her fighting qualities in the Halep match.
“I mean, I gave everything. This is what I will tell myself in the next few days,” said Kerber, who celebrated her 30th birthday in Melbourne.
“And looking back what I achieved in the last three weeks, yeah, it was not so bad.
“When I’m looking back at four, five weeks ago, and somebody told me that I will win so many matches in a row, win a title, be in the semis here, and still having the opportunity to win this match, all is well.”