BNP Paribas Open
BNP Paribas Open Logo
ATP Tour
WTA Tennis
Angelique Kerber Is Playing Her Heart Out At Indian Wells, And Loving Every Moment
3 Min Read · March 8, 2024

When she wrapped up her first Top 10 win in two-and-a-half years on Friday at Indian Wells, she let out a scream of joy that pierced the crowd’s roar on Stadium 2. 

Angelique Kerber, three-time Grand Slam champion in all her fist-pumping glory, is back. 


36-year-old Kerber, who gave birth to her daughter Liana last February, has spent the last two post-maternity leave months taking lumps on the tour as she tried to rebuild her legendary game. It hasn’t been easy. 

Kerber lost six of her first seven matches this season, but she believed things would come as long as she was patient with herself. 

“It was just for me a cold start, just putting me in the cold water,” she told reporters after her 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 win over No.10-ranked Jelena Ostapenko on Friday. 

Now the German is glowing under the California sun at Indian Wells. 

Kerber, who will face No.17-seeded Veronika Kudermetova in the second round, is embracing the dual role of mother and professional tennis player, and riding a wave of emotion that is fueling her resurgence. 

“For me, the biggest motivation is the love for the sport,” she said. “I love to compete, being out there today as well, having this crowd, having the emotions, this gives me everything.” 

Add in the new perspective that comes from motherhood, and Kerber is feeling the sport – and the emotions that come with playing and winning – in another dimension entirely. 

“Having my daughter [by] my side, it's even more inspiring for me,” she said. “There’s something bigger than tennis as well, which I learned, and it's not tennis anymore, it's her. And having the combination of doing something I love and having her by my side, this is the most inspiration for me.”

Caroline Wozniacki (above), another mother who has made her comeback return to the Tour in 2024.

Fellow mom and former 2011 BNP Paribas Open champion Caroline Wozniacki is one of the many who are pulling for Kerber as she commences her inspiring comeback. 

“I think I always root for her, I think I always have, for a very long time,” Wozniacki, who came back from maternity last summer, said. “Not having played many matches, it's not easy, especially not easy playing a player like Ostapenko, so for her to really have the grit and the fight and the movement that she had today, and the way she was moving around the ball, I think just shows that she keeps playing better and better for every match – she feels more and more comfortable. 

“That was good to see. I definitely watched some on TV when I was waiting for my match.”

Wozniacki said that Kerber talked to her many times to pick her brain about what motherhood was like. The pair have been fast friends on tour for many years. 

“She was asking, what's it like being a mom when I still just had one (child) and she was pregnant, et cetera,” Wozniacki added. “It's just nice to have friendships that go way beyond just tennis.”

Kerber, who has her daughter with her this week in California, says she has to be more organized to remain productive with her baby in tow. 

“It’s just about organization,” she said. “I think that's the most important thing. You have to be really flexible, as well, and to really make a good schedule for the day.”

Wearing the mom hat is magical, but there comes a time each day when Kerber must make a swift transition – that’s when she flicks the switch to go from mom mode to win mode. 

“I try when I step on-site to switch [on] my tennis player, but when I'm out of the site, I just turn my life to being a mom and just try to forget about [tennis], to really enjoying every moment, especially here in Indian Wells,” she said. 

It’s not easy, wearing the hat of mother and elite tennis pro, but at the end of the day, it’s all worthwhile for Kerber.

“She is not a child who is crying all the time, so she's really calm,” Kerber said. “I think she's enjoying it as well. But of course sometimes you have nights where you will not get so much sleep, but it's all worth it.” 

More news