Kerber in injury battle to play the Open

Angelique Kerber, winner of the 2016 Australian Open, is battling injury ahead of her first match.
Angelique Kerber, winner of the 2016 Australian Open, is battling injury ahead of her first match.

Three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber will need every minute she can get to overcome a hamstring injury before the Australian Open.

Kerber, who claimed the Australian Open title in 2016, was forced to retire from her match at the Adelaide International on Wednesday.

The German has a history of dealing with hamstring issues, and she knows she'll be racing the clock in time for her first-round match.

"I'm actually very happy that I start my matches on Tuesday so that I have one more day (to recover)," Kerber said on Friday.

"I'm trying to do my best to have a lot of treatments and hopefully it will be OK.

"I've had it before at the end of last year, so I know what it is. We know what we have to do and how to treat it. That's actually a good sign.

"So I'm hopeful and I'm thinking that it will be fine when I start playing."

The former world No.1, and current No.18, is the 17th seed at the Open and is scheduled to begin her Melbourne Park campaign against a qualifier.

The 31-year-old endured a frustrating 2019 season where she failed to advance past the fourth round at any of the grand slams.

Now she is taking a cautious approach as she tries to recapture the form that also helped her win the US Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2018.

"The end of last year was not the best," Kerber said.

"I had an intense off-season, but right now I will give myself a little bit of time to come back and find my rhythm.

"I need a few more matches ... I think this is my goal for now.

"I just need to get on court, find my base and play like I played in the good times.

"I'm not putting too much pressure on myself for now for this tournament or for the next weeks ... it's more a process to prepare for the whole year."

Australian Associated Press