Angelique Kerber is benefiting from a change of coach and a lighter schedule as she continues to prosper early in 2018, according to Rainer Schuttler.
Kerber lifted both the Australian and US Open trophies in a stunning 2016, which also saw her reach the decider of the WTA Tour Finals as well as claiming Olympic silver in Rio.
She failed to live up to weighty expectations last year, however, failing to win any events on Tour while not progressing beyond the fourth round at any of the grand slams.
But the dawn of a new year has prompted a resurgence from the 30-year-old, who began the season with victory at the Sydney International before she reached the last four at the Australian Open.
Kerber defeated Karolina Pliskova in straight sets at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Thursday to advance to her third semi-final in four outings in 2018 and Schuttler believes his compatriot suffered from attending too many off-court commitments last year.
"I would assess that she had a very long year and she had an [extremely] high amount of public relations duties or tributes," the four-time ATP Tour winner and former world number five told Omnisport.
"In my opinion, she did not take the time out she needed. She should have done nothing for two or two and a half weeks.
"But she ran from one appointment to the other, she already started the season wearily and sometimes it is like a spiral: You lose once, you lose twice and then you lose your confidence.
"Then you think: 'What's wrong?' Then you have bad luck and afterwards it continues like that.
"Fortunately, she got her act together last year. She played less tournaments. She was a bit injured and then she changed her coach.
"I think the change of her coach gave her some new impulses, new objectives and new power. This was very important for her.
"At the beginning of this year she played some very good tennis in Sydney and Melbourne. She lost a tight match against [Caroline] Wozniacki in Doha [last week].
"So you can see that she is back. She is back in the top ten and that is where she belongs."
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