Due to their drive for excellence and unrelenting dedication, many women have conquered obstacles and scaled hurdles, personal and societal to get to limelight.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber had to fight self-doubt to become the world’s number one. She went from the 92nd-ranked player to all-star in 2011 when she won her first Grand Slam. The experience taught her that excellence is not easily won, but well worth striving for.
“I was really happy when [at 28] I became the oldest number one player in the world,” says Angelique Kerber. Kerber began playing tennis at 3 and went pro at 2003, when she was just 15. She says as a teen she had the expectation of winning Grand Slam tournaments within a matter of years. But victory didn’t come as quickly as she anticipated.
By the beginning of 2011, Kerber had gotten into a rut—and was losing every tournament in the first round. “I was thinking maybe it’s better to stop and change my life,” she admits, “but then I told myself, ‘No, it’s important to enjoy tennis again.’ ” So she kept playing. Everything changed later that year, when she rose from being the 92nd-ranked player to a surprise semi-finalist during the Grand Slam tournament at the 2011 U.S. Open in New York City. “I was playing tennis again like when I was a kid growing up in Germany: with a lot of patience, with fun, and joy. From that moment, I believed in myself and in my game.”
Kerber’s renewed passion brought her two Grand Slam titles in 2016—and the number one ranking for the first time, at age 28.
It was back in New York City a few years ago that she chose to commemorate the crescendo of her career with a Rolex. “At this point in my career, I thought, Okay, now I achieved so much, now is the time to really get something for myself.”
Indeed, to achieve something in life, something big, one really has to fight for it. Everybody has ups and downs, but it is important they learn from the toughest moments and never give up.