Tatjana, the last time you played the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was in 2012. What can you remember about the tournament?
Tatjana Maria: “For me, it was something special right away when I was a kid. As a junior, I once won the LBS Cup, which was a part of the tournament, in Filderstadt and the award ceremony was on Centre Court. It was an unforgettable experience. I’m therefore so happy to have been given the wild card and the chance to play in the Porsche Arena again after all these years. The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is my home tournament, and it will always be that way.”
How important is the event for you and the other players on the Tour?
Tatjana Maria: “It’s one of the year’s top tournaments – something the unbelievable field alone makes very obvious. Everybody wants to play in Stuttgart and it’s not only because the winner gets to take home a Porsche. The strong main draw is a challenge, but it’s also a big motivation. Everybody knows that to win in Stuttgart, I have to beat the world’s best.”
The Porsche Arena has a clay court. What do you think is possible for you there?
Tatjana Maria: “As far as I can remember, I never got past the first round in Stuttgart. Therefore, I’ll be doing everything to go one better this time. I feel in good shape and think the clay court in the Porsche Arena will suit me, even though it isn’t my favourite surface. I after all won on clay last year at the tournament in Bogota, and I hope I’ll also get to grips with the conditions in Stuttgart.”
In Wimbledon, you served up a tennis fairy tale last year. To what extent is the experience still to the fore in your thoughts?
Tatjana Maria: “It was an incredible fortnight. One big struggle. Every match was extremely tight. And then standing in the semifinal was a dream. The nicest thing was that I was able to enjoy it with my family – with my husband and my daughters, Charlotte and Cecilia. It’ll remain unforgettable.”
Your family is always with you when you’re on Tour. How important is it for you?
Tatjana Maria: “My family is the most important thing in the world for me. I love travelling with my husband and my kids.”
Is the pensum as a tennis pro and mother sometimes a bit much?
Tatjana Maria: “No, quite the opposite. I can’t think of anything nicer. We’re always very relaxed, never stressed. Those that have children themselves know that not everything is always perfect. But that’s the nice thing about it all. It’s wonderful having your family around you. My husband feels the same way which is why everything works out so well.”
For your daughter, you’re not only a mother but also a teacher. How does that work?
Tatjana Maria: “Luckily enough I’ve got a mum that really is a teacher. Whenever I get stuck, I can call her to ask for advice. Charlotte is learning remotely at a school in Florida. I therefore just turn on the computer and do what the teacher says. She sometimes also rings up and does a test with Charlotte. It works perfectly, so we can all travel together.”
Nine-year old Charlotte already plays very good tennis. You once said you would continue playing until she also starts playing on Tour.
Tatjana Maria: “Let’s see, perhaps I really will play so long. The most important thing is that I have fun and my body stands up. Everything is super at the moment.”
Before the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, you will play for Porsche Team Germany against Brazil in the Billie Jean King Cup. Are you a team player?
Tatjana Maria: “For sure. I grew up in team sport. My parents played handball, my father was even a pro, and I too played handball for a long time. I love being a part of the team. We’re a pretty cool bunch at the moment and we get on well with each other. It’s important if you’re going to be successful.”
What’s vital when it comes to team competitions?
Tatjana Maria: “What’s decisive is that we gel as a team. And that’s what we do. It’s why I’m confident we have a good chance against Brazil of qualifying for the finals. Even if they’re no easy opponents. Whatever happens, the tie in the Porsche Arena is good chance to prepare for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.”
In the Porsche Arena, you’ll be supported by your family and friends from your old hometown. How much are you looking forward to it?
Tatjana Maria: “It’s going to be a quite special experience. My family still lives in Bad Saulgau, and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing they will now get to see me live once again. They will all be there, from grandma to the uncle and aunt. I’m so looking forward to it. For me, it’s a huge spur to show my best tennis.”
Tatjana Maria was born in Bad Saulgau, Germany on 8 August 1987. She is married to Charles Maria, who is also her coach, and has two daughters – Charlotte (*2013) and Cecilia (*2021). She has won two career WTA titles – 2018 in Mallorca and 2022 in Bogota. Her biggest achievement to date is reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2022. She is currently No. 66 in the world rankings. The WTA named her Comeback Player of the Year in 2022.