I watched Kerber brood for years on tour. Did not remember her smile till she won the Aussie Open. This portrait painted soon after: big blue eyes, sparkling white teeth. Exaggerate a feature to express a truth. Caricature 101.
Angie’s smile like the lotus flower of Buddhist thought, a moment of beauty arising before us from an endless stream of causes. Her already incredible court coverage imperceptibly enhanced from increased time in the gym–situps, squats, bands, planks–so she’s 1/10 of a step faster to the ball, somehow digging Serena’s laser-like winners from deep out of both corners while spectators hold their breath. Counterpunch after counterpunch, some with extraordinary angles, some with surprising pace, so that even her opponent, Serena Williams, begins to smile. We might call Serena’s smile an appreciation of another human being who has lifted their game, improved their lot. We might call Serena’s smile a realization that we do not always control our destiny. Serena’s all smiles, big smiles, too, when the match is over. It’s a law of something like physics that when someone else smiles we smile more, and that when Serena smiles her millions of followers smile and smile so that we might say the math is clear: more and more smiles = more and more smiles, or bigger and bigger smiles = bigger and bigger smiles. Yet no single person or event can fully explain Angie’s smile. Not the history of Germany where she was born to Polish parents. Not the history of Poland where she now lives. Not even the owner of Angie’s smile can explain Angie’s smile. How beautiful it is. How much more beautiful it is in Andreas Otto’s portrait.
Artist Bio: Andreas Otto is a well-known Caricaturist and Quick Sketch Artist in Germany. He created this portrait of Angie Kerber soon after she won the Aussie Open in 2016. You can check out some of his caricatures of celebrities and political figures here. You can also visit his website for all his activities and artwork.
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2 replies on “Angie Kerber’s Smile: The 2016 Aussie Open Final, Art by Andreas Otto”
It would be interesting to read a book by you describing a behind-the-scenes look of a touring tennis pro interweaving your journey with the lives of other tennis heroes.
Thanks you for your comment, David. That’s a good idea.