Aussie win just the start for German
Former champion and countryman Steffi Graf says Australian Open champion and new world No.2 Angelique Kerber has the game to win more grand slam tournaments.
In what has been described as one of the greatest upsets in women's tennis, the German juggernaut denied American great Serena Williams her 22nd grand slam title, an achievement that would have seen her equal Graf's mark.
One of the first text messages on Kerber's mobile phone when she left centre court after her giant-killing 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over one of the game's greatest players, was a message of congratulations from Graf, who spent time practising with the 28-year-old, and told her she just needed to believe in herself.
Kerber was down a match point against Japan's Misaki Doi in the first round -on her 28th birthday - but drew on Graf's words to fight her way back and win.
The 34-year-old Williams, who has now twice missed the chance to equal Graf on 22 titles, squandered some key points with an uncharacteristic 46 unforced errors, almost double her average in three-set matches.
Kerber, a national hero in her native Germany as its first Grand Slam winner this century, had a poor record in majors before her fairytale run, which also included a brutal quarter-final win over former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka.
Kerber celebrated her first major victory with her coach and family until the early hours of the morning, before honouring a bet to jump into Melbourne's Yarra River if she won the tournament.
"It was cold and the water was a little dirty," said the German, who earned $3.4 million for her work at Melbourne Park.
The trend was started by another German, Boris Becker, who jumped in the Yarra after winning the Australian Open in 1991, and continued by American Jim Courier the following year.