German mum Tatjana Maria is the talk of the tennis world after maintaining her extraordinary run qualify for the semi-finals of Wimbledon.
The unassuming Maria was first lady through to the last four at the All England Club after a comeback 4-6 6-2 7-5 victory over German outsider Jule Niemeier, who was making her Wimbledon main draw debut.
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Maria, 34, is on the verge of becoming one of the most unlikely finalists in the tournament’s 145-year history, with Australia’s Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s 42-year-old record in her sights.
The German is aiming to become the first mum to win the Wimbledon title since the Australian great in 1980.
The world number 103 is only the sixth woman in the open era to reach the semifinals after turning 34, joining legends Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Serena and Venus Williams.
“It’s a dream to live it with my family, to live it with my two girls. I gave birth almost a year ago, it’s crazy,” Maria said in her on-court interview after the win.
“I have goosebumps all over. I think we did Germany really proud today after our game.”
And now 14-month-old Cecilia was also her second child.
Her first daughter Charlotte, born in 2013, watched last week as Maria ventured past the third round of a slam for the first time in 35 attempts.
She never made it that far even at the other three main schools.
Speaking to Eurosport after Maria’s victory sparked jubilant scenes, a number of former players could not contain their enthusiasm and admiration for the German and what she had achieved.
“It’s super exciting,” Kim Clijsters said of Maria’s progress.
“I got to know her and her family – I read about her, I met her, but I never had time to sit down and talk.
“But he’s a great family, he’s a hard worker, he’s enjoying the adventure of living with family. It reminds me of how my husband and I did when we had Jada, so it’s super exciting. She’s already done it.” she had a great result, but I hope she can hold on for a while.”
Agnieszka Radwanska added: “It’s very impressive. Having one child is a challenge, having two children is something crazy.
“A lot of respect for her playing great tennis while being a mother of two. [She’s] she still plays good tennis and I think her game is very well suited to grass. She can use her slice and a good serve and I think this is the perfect time for her – [it’s] the tournament of her life so [it’s] it’s also interesting to see how she does.”
Martina Hingis added: “She’s really fighting for her family, isn’t she? It’s amazing.
“It’s obviously a dream come true for her to make it this far at a Grand Slam, in the draw.”
Tatjana Maria prepares the account of Ons Jabeur
The German star will face her “grill buddy” Ons Jabeur in the semi-finals after the Tunisian recovered from a set down in Tuesday’s second quarter-final to upset Czech Maria Bouzkova 3-6 6-1 6-1.
Jabeur, the highest-ranked player left in the draw, is two exciting wins away from becoming Africa’s first Grand Slam singles champion.
The third seed said there is no one she would prefer in her first Grand Slam semi-final.
“I love Tatiana so much and her family is so amazing,” said the 27-year-old.
“She’s my friend from the grill, so she’s going to be hard to play, of course.
“But she’s a great friend and I’m really happy she’s in the semi-finals.
Outside the top 250 as recently as March, Maria lost in the first round at the 2021 US Open and 2022 Australian Open and French Open since returning from maternity leave.
That all changed at SW19, where Maria beat three seeds in a row en route to the round of 16 – Sorana Cirstea in her second match, fifth seed Maria Sakkari in the third round and No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko in the last 16.
“Being a mom to my two kids is the most important thing in my life,” she said.
“Nothing’s going to change that. I’m here, yeah, I’m in the semi-finals of Wimbledon, it’s crazy, but I’m still a mum.”
“Then I’ll go out there and see my kids and do the same thing I do every day.
“I change her Pampers, I mean, everything normal. I try to keep it as normal as possible because the thing that makes me the proudest is being a mom.”
with the AAP
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