Tatjana Maria Beats Jule Niemeier To Reach First Grand Slam Semi-Final

The German world number 103 Maria beat her compatriot 4-6 6-2 7-5
17:24, 05 Jul 2022

What mum hasn’t taken her eight-year-old eldest daughter for a tennis lesson at 8.30am in the morning – and then got to her first Wimbledon semi-final in the afternoon? The incredible run of Germany’s 34-year-old Tatjana Maria has become the story of this year’s women’s singles tournament. 

World No103 Maria had never been past the third round of any of the grand slam events before this magical spell at Wimbledon – and the growing reality of what she had accomplished by reaching the semi-finals of the most prestigious slam of them all showed in her reaction after winning the match against Niemeier, and during her post-match court interview. 

Together with husband and coach Charles-Edouard and daughters Charlotte and Cecilia – who was born just over a year ago – the family have fully enjoyed and embraced the experience together at SW19, while Maria has been busy making her own history and putting a few pennies towards the holiday fund. £535,000 and counting to date. The BBC even got Charlotte interviewing her mum on camera…and the confident result put a few professional broadcasters to shame. 

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Maria, a 300-1 shot at the start, was quick to highlight after winning one of her previous matches this year that the widespread prejudice around women’s tennis is that once you have had children, that is you pretty much done in terms of being able to compete effectively at the very top level. What she has done at Wimbledon will give hope to many pro women players both having had children - or considering the possibility of combining the two. 

Her path to the last four has been far from straightforward. Maria saved two match points in her three-set win over former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the last 16. And she had to come from a set down once more against compatriot Jule Niemeier, just 22 and at the opposite end of her career, before running out a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 winner. 

Maria said: “I guess there are a lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already the case after Charlotte, and when I changed my backhand. Already nobody was thinking, ‘Okay, she's now back with a child, but it's not impossible to be back in the top 100’. 

“I showed it the first time I could get back - I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I'm back with my second child. Still everybody was doubting. It's a little bit my life to show everybody that I'm still here and I'm a fighter. 

“For me [being a mother] - that's the most important in my life, to be a mum of my two kids. Nothing will change this. I'm in the semi-final of Wimbledon, and it's crazy, but I'm still a mum. After this I will go out over there and I will see my kids and I will do the same thing what I do every single day. I will change Pampers, everything normal. I try to keep normal as much as possible, because that was what makes me proudest is to be a mum. 

“Everything was the same with the routine this morning. We arrived at 8.30 indoors and Charlotte, she had a practice. Outside of the court, I mean, nothing change for me for a moment, so I try to keep this going, everything the same.  

“I once before got to the third round here, and in the other Grand Slams I never pass the second round. Now I'm in the semi-final of Wimbledon. I always believed that I have something inside, that I can do this. But to be here one year after I gave birth to my second daughter - if somebody would tell me one year later you are in a semi-final of Wimbledon, that's crazy. 

“I have goose bumps everywhere. It was such a tough match against Jule from the same country as me – we are both German and today I think we made Germany really proud with our match. And for my two little girls…it is a dream to live this with my family and my two little ones.” 

It was hard not to feel some sympathy for the vastly less experienced Niemeier, who tried to take the initiative and remain on the front foot throughout. But there were more errors than in the win over Heather Watson – and the serve that saw the Briton slightly unkindly brand her a ‘serve-bot’ was not functioning quite as well.  

Throw in a struggle to deal with the continual low slices coming back almost every shot from Maria, and it was not to be the youngster’s day - but her time will surely come. 

World No97 Niemeier said: “It is a tough one to take today. I think we both played a great match, but Tatjana played really well in the right moments.” 

Maria will now face close family friend Ons Jabeur in the semi-finals after the Tunisian defeated Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

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