Angelique Kerber is a German tennis player who is perhaps the best example of how a late bloomer can be just as successful as teenage prodigies.
Kerber won her first Grand Slam title only at the age of 28, but has been a consistent top player ever since. She has easily been the best German player since Steffi Graf retired, and continues to set the courts alight with her speed and athleticism.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Champion (2016)
French Open: Quarterfinalist (2012, 2018)
Wimbledon: Champion (2018)
US Open: Champion (2016)
Highest Ranking: No. 1
Style of play
Kerber is an out-and-out defender, and relies primarily on her speed, anticipation and footwork to win matches. She rarely, if ever, comes to the net willingly; the majority of her time in any match is spent at or behind the baseline.
Kerber's serve is not a typical lefty serve and lacks the heavy swerve that the likes of John McEnroe and Petra Kvitova have made so famous, but she does use the slider in the ad court to push her opponents out of position. Her groundstrokes also don't have the huge amount of topspin that left-handers traditionally possess, but she can produce wide angles with her forehand that work to her advantage in long rallies.
Kerber uses the drop shot quite often, along with the lob.
Strengths and weaknesses
Kerber's foot speed is one of the best in the world, and so is her sense of anticipation. She has been known to run down the biggest shots struck by considerably stronger opponents, and her passing shots are especially deadly. Very few players can hit the ball with as much precision on the dead run as Kerber can.
Kerber's forehand is not the biggest, but the disguise on it often wrong-foots her opponents. She can hit it crosscourt or down the line equally well, and she also has a good inside-out forehand.
Kerber's return game is again among the best in the world. She is brilliant at anticipating the direction in which the ball is going to go, and frequently sends her returns right at the opponent's feet.
Kerber's serve is possibly her biggest weakness; opponents frequently step into the court to return it, putting the German under pressure right from the start. She can also struggle to end points even if she is in an advantageous position, which means she usually finds herself in a lot of energy-sapping long rallies.
Kerber was born in Bremen, Germany, to Slawomir and Beata, who are both of Polish origin. Shortly after her birth she moved to Kiel, and took up tennis there at the age of three.
Kerber is naturally right-handed, but plays left-handed because of the inherent advantages it offers. She didn't achieve a lot of early success as a pro, but her unique game eventually started showing the results that she craved right from the start of her career.
Kerber has always shown incredible fighting spirit, and has consistently punched above her weight in defeating players who are taller and stronger than her. She defeated the legendary Serena Williams for her first Grand Slam title, and then repeated the feat to win her first Wimbledon trophy in 2018.
Kerber has turned defense into an art, and she has won many fans with the way she uses her opponents' pace to move them around the court. Having first wrested away the World No. 1 ranking from Serena, she has well and truly established herself as one of the modern greats.
Social media presence:
Angelique Kerber Instagram: @angie.kerber
Angelique Kerber Twitter: @AngeliqueKerber