Angelique Kerber believes the way she has thrived under pressure this season should stand her in good stead as she goes in search of a first WTA Finals title in Singapore.
Kerber has shot to prominence in 2016, winning her first grand slam at the Australian Open and also taking the US Open title after finishing runner-up at Wimbledon and going on to earn an Olympic silver medal before replacing Serena Williams at the top of the rankings.
The left-hander has never progressed beyond the round-robin stage of the WTA Finals, which brings the curtain down on the season, but thinks she is well-equipped to put that right next week.
“For sure the pressure is a little bit bigger because I think that everybody is now expecting that I can go to the semis or the finals all the time.” said the top seed.
“For me it’s not like that, because we have here the best players. I know that I have to play and work hard every single match. So for me it’s really important to go out there and focus step by step.
“I know that I have to give everything and just fight again like I played the last few months. This will also be the way I would like to play here.
“I have much more confidence right now. I know how to play the big tournaments mentally, how to win really tough matches in tough situations, like playing finals in big tournaments, big stages.
“As a person, I’m still the same player as I was a year ago. My daily schedule is a little bit tighter than before but I’m trying to enjoy it. I’ve learned to also say no sometimes.
“I think it can be better than the last few years. I never got out of the group and I never played the semis here. This is for sure my goal.
“But there are still three really tough matches that I have to play. I think I will try to take the experience from the previous years and maybe take the positive things and try to do them better.”
German Kerber faces Simona Halep, Madison Keys and Dominika Cibulkova in the Red Group in a tournament which starts on Sunday with Williams absent due to injury.