Kerber fired up for WTA Finals
World No. 1 Kerber keen to go all the way after three failed outings
By her own admission, her last press conference in Singapore was an unhappy one.
Last year, all Angelique Kerber had to do to qualify for her first WTA Finals semi-finals was to win a set against Lucie Safarova, only to lose and be eliminated in straight sets.
The German vented her frustration on her racket and also slammed the tournament format, which staggered the final group matches instead of playing them at the same time as there was just one competition court at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
But what a difference one year makes.
Winning this year's Australian and US Opens - her first two Grand Slam titles - made Kerber the first player other than Serena Williams to win two Majors in the same year.
Rising to the summit of the WTA rankings made her the oldest player to achieve the No. 1 ranking for the first time.
Not to mention she also collected an Olympic silver medal and three WTA titles this year as well.
Kerber smiled as she said yesterday: "I remember the last press conference last year.
"I was really upset, especially after this match against Lucie.
"After that, I didn't know if I would able to believe I could (win two Grand Slams and be world No. 1).
"But yeah, I've done it, and it's a better feeling now sitting here than it was one year ago."
There is still the remarkable statistic for a world No. 1 - three visits to the WTA Finals (2012, 2013 and 2015) and Kerber has never made it past the group stages.
But records are meant to be broken and, after the year the 28-year-old has had, you wouldn't bet against her going all the way at the Indoor Stadium this week.
Perhaps that is why Kerber is brimming with confidence that she can advance from the Red Group that also includes world No. 4 Simona Halep, world No. 7 Madison Keys and world No. 8 Dominika Cibulkova.
"I never came out from the group and I never played the semis here. This is for sure my goal. I think it can be better this year," she said.
"For sure, the pressure is a little bit bigger because everybody is now expecting me to win and I can go to the semis or the finals all the time.
"I know I have to play and work hard every single match, fighting like I played the last few months.
"This will be also the way I would like to play here.
"There are still three really tough matches that I have to play.
"I will try to take the experience from the last years, take the positive things and try to do it now better."
Tennis observers have noted the more aggressive nature of Kerber's play compared to her usual counter-punching style, as she grew from good to great this season.
She has also learned to be more consistent with her serves and capitalise on her second serve - her 49.3 per cent second-serve points won ranks her eighth on the Tour.
"For sure, my serve has improved. I mean, that was one shot what I was working on for a long time," added Kerber.
"It's still not perfect. I know that I can still improve it. But this is for sure the shot that I think I improved a lot in the last few months."
One also gets the feeling that Kerber is not going to be a one-hit wonder, given the way she rebounded from the first-round French Open exit after winning the Australian Open, to claim the US Open crown.
Elaborating on what she learned in the process, she said: "If you win such a big tournament that was always your goal, a lot of things change, a lot more people recognise you, and the pressure in the following tournaments increases.
"You have to find the way to get motivated again, to go out there on court and still practise really hard because now everybody would like to beat you.
"You know you have to give more than ever after such a big success.
"When you win a Grand Slam for the first time, you have to take time to get used to the experience. It takes a few months. I lost in the first round of the French Open, but I learned from this.
"You just have to thinking positive and remember you can win such a big tournament."