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“Doesn’t matter how old you are, or how many kids you have” – Tatjana Maria, mother of two, relishing Wimbledon revival

All in the family for Germany’s Tatjana Maria. A win for the 34-year-old is a win for her family – and mothers everywhere

Tatjana Maria Wimbledon 2022 Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 3, 2022 Germany’s Tatjana Maria celebrates winning her fourth round match against Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko || Tatjana Maria Wimbledon 2022

She’s not the most famous mother to take her place in the Wimbledon draw in 2022 (that honour belongs to none other than Serena Williams, naturally), but Germany’s Tatjana Maria is the last mum standing at SW19 after a match point miracle on No.1 Court on Sunday.

The 34-year-old world No 103 is having a dream week in London, and her victories are inspiring working mothers and thirty somethings all over the globe. Maria, the feelgood story of these championships, entered the main draw with a 5-9 lifetime record at Wimbledon and had not won a single match at a Grand Slam since 2018.

Since then she has obliterated her own expectations as she has gone on a run for the ages.

Less than a year removed from maternity leave, after giving birth to her second daughter Cecilia (born in April of 2021), Maria is Wimbledon’s gift that keeps on giving.

Doesn’t matter how old you are, or how many kids you have

When Maria rallied from 3-0 down in the final set to defeat Sorana Cirstea in the second round for her first top-50 win in over two years, it was just the beginning.

In the third round she ended the run of No 5-seeded Maria Sakkari, 6-3, 7-5, to reach the second week of a major for the first time, on her 35th appearance at a major. With that victory she became the oldest German woman to ever crack the second week at a Slam.

On Sunday her dramatic run continued as she saved a pair of match points to knock off Jelena Ostapenko, 5-7, 7-5, 7-5.

It seems everything Maria touches right now turns to gold.

“There’s always the belief that I can do it,” Maria told reporters in her press conference on Sunday. “I mean, that’s why I came back after the first [child]. It’s why I came back after the second [child]. If not, if I don’t believe I can do these things, then I would not be here. So there’s always this believing and keep going and improving and trying my best at the end.

“I mean, I’m now in the quarter-final of Wimbledon, so it’s really amazing for me. This means also that you always have to keep going. Doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter how many kids you have, you just have to keep going and to believe in yourself.”

So proud to be a mum

Seven-time champion Serena might have garnered the most attention of the mothers in the draw – with Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium also joining the party – but Maria’s star is most certainly rising the most this week at Wimbledon.

She has captivated crowds with her unassuming air, and her pure celebratory joy.

“I mean, it makes me so proud to be a mum,” the smiling mother-of-two told the crowd on Sunday.

Maria says that her daughter Charlotte, now eight years old, is the future champion of the family. She has been training with her early in the mornings at Wimbledon.

“Doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter how many kids you have, you just have to keep going and to believe in yourself.”

— Tatjana Maria

“I mean, that’s the best thing in the world,” she said, adding that the tournament has been completely supportive of its working mother. “I love to be a mum and I love my two kids, and to be able to do this together – really, from the morning when we arrive here and we practise indoors, already at 0830 with my daughter, everybody’s so nice and supporting us and believing in me and in our family and it makes it really special.”

A clutch win – thanks to the crowd

Maria’s love affair with Wimbledon goes both ways. She has received incredible support during her run and thanked the crowd for their energy on Sunday.

“Oh my god, I mean there are no words for this amazing crowd,” she said. “I mean it was amazing, even when I was 5-4 down in the third set and I got broken, you were always there, always supporting, and I just said “Okay they believe in me so I believe in me,’ and I kept going.” 

“You know, I was thinking, ‘Okay, keep going. It’s not done here.’ I mean, it was such an amazing match. She was playing so well at one point, in the second set. I was already 4-1 down. I came back.”

Tatjana Maria
Germany’s Tatjana Maria celebrates winning her fourth round match against Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Wozniacki – huge opportunity

Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki was commentating on Maria’s match against Ostapenko and, as a fellow mother, couldn’t help but be excited for her.

“It’s just been fun to see her and her family do so well, you know, after so many years making her first fourth round and now her first quarter-finals,” she said, adding that the 34-year-old has a good chance of progressing into the semi-finals. “Again a huge opportunity for any of these players in this quarter of the draw, with Heather Watson (who was eliminated by Niemeier), Jule Niemeier and Tatjana Maria all having a chance for their first quarter-finals and semi-finals at a Grand Slam.” 

Maria – family is most important

Having been through so much with her family, Maria feels she is in position to savour the richness of this moment more than when she was younger.

“Maybe I can appreciate it more because I know that there are more important things in life than playing a tennis match,” she said. “For me, like I said, it’s super great. I do everything out there to live my dreams at the end.

“I know also there are more important things outside. I know my family is the most important for me and my two kids. Later when I go over there, I take care of my two kids and everything will be normal and that’s it. For me, it doesn’t change anything on my outside.

“I’m a mum. I love to be a mum. I love my two kids.”

Jule Niemeier
Germany’s Jule Niemeier celebrates winning her fourth round match against Britain’s Heather Watson (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Not the only German making waves

Maria isn’t the only German having a breakout week at SW19. Add 22-year-old Jule Niemeier to the list.

The world No 97 took out Heather Watson, 6-2, 6-4, on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals on her second Grand Slam main draw appearance. Niemeier’s run to the quarter-finals is nearly as improbably as Maria’s. Her 6-4, 6-0 second-round shellacking of No 2-seeded Anett Kontaveit on No.1 Court opened the door for a deep run, and she has taken advantage, advancing to the last eight without dropping a set.

Maria and Niemeier will collide in the quarter-finals, marking the fifth time that two German women have reached the quarter-finals in the same year at Wimbledon.

Niemeier impressed by Maria’s accomplishments as well

The German couldn’t help but be impressed by what she has seen from Maria at Wimbledon.

“It’s amazing, I have to say,” she told reporters. “Having two kids, traveling with two kids the whole year, it must be so tough, especially because the younger kid is not even one year. It’s pretty stressful, I would say.

“It’s just incredible how they’re handling all the situations. They’re coming here, just the husband, the two kids and her. It must be so stressful, but it’s incredible how they are handling the situation.”

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