It was a case of welcome and goodbye for 2016 Australia Open champion Angelique Kerber as she was sent packing in the very first round on Monday.
Kerber lost to number 63 seed Bernarda Pera 6-0 6-4 in just one hour ten minutes. kerber who is seeded 23 blamed her early exit on forced hard hotel quarantine
The German, who had 25 unforced errors and seven double faults, lost the first nine games as she faced the humiliating prospect of a 6-0, 6-0 ‘double bagel’ before her attempts at a comeback were thwarted by the 26-year-old American, who did not undergo a hard quarantine.
Kerber was one of 72 players unable to leave their rooms during quarantine after being on a flight to Melbourne where a passenger tested positive for COVID-19. Other players were allowed outside for daily five-hour training blocks.
“Definitely, yes,” the 33-year-old said when asked if the lockdown had an impact on her performance.
“You feel it, especially if you play a real match where it counts and you play the first match in a Grand Slam against an opponent who doesn’t stay in the hard lockdown,” she said.
“I was not feeling the rhythm that I was before the two weeks, to be honest.”
The three-time Grand Slam winner said she would have reconsidered travelling to Australia if she had known what lay ahead.
“Looking back, I had not planned the two weeks hard quarantine,” she said.
“If I knew that before… to stay two weeks in the hard quarantine without hitting a ball, maybe I would think twice about that.” It was the second consecutive first-round Grand Slam defeat for Kerber, who lost to Kaja Juvan at the French Open.
Pera plays Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the second round.