German female tennis players are still in the Billie Jean King Cup World Group. The serenity of success in Croatia is great. The new generation is mastering its first test.
Pregnant Angelique Kerber published beach photos on social networks, and Andrea Petkovic, who resigned, acted as a TV expert.
But even without their long-time leaders, the German tennis players solved a difficult away task in Croatia and managed to stay in the world group of the Billie Jean King Cup with three individual debutants in different colors. “Girls can be damn proud of themselves. This victory is very important for our and their development,” said the manager of the German team, Rainer Schütler, after the 3:1 victory in Rijeka.
Relegation from the group of 16 top tennis nations will have serious consequences for German women’s tennis. “It is not so easy to get out of the second-tier European group. It would be hell,” said German women’s leader Barbara Rittner. “We all knew what was at stake here, so we’re very relieved.”
For years, it was women who gave positive headlines to German tennis. Kerber, Petkovic, Yulia Gorges and Sabina Lisicki. this quartet gave the german fans a very great moment. But Petkovic and Gorges are now retired, Kerber is on maternity leave for now. Lisicki is still playing, but after several serious injuries, she is only 380th in the world ranking.
Croatia’s new generation of masters are in the way
And so Rijeka’s new generation depended on which only Jules Niemeyer has so far appeared in the extended global elite. So the 23-year-old from Dortmund was under a lot of pressure, which she couldn’t handle against the first 16-year-old Petra Marcinko on Friday. Instead, the only 20-year-old Eva Lis won the match against Croatian number one Petra Martic and scored an important point.
“It was almost a perfect match from Eva,” praised Schuettler, who nevertheless saw off the German champion, who was born in Kiev and lives in Hamburg, on Saturday. Instead, Anna-Lena Friedsam surprisingly made her individual debut in the prestigious team competition long known as the Fed Cup, like Niemeyer and Liss before her. And the 28-year-old scored a crucial third point against Marcinko after Niemeyer bravely overcame her opening defeat against Ana Konyuh.
When victory in Croatia was certain, the German players danced in a circle along with Schuettler and Ritner and the support staff. In the evening there was a small celebration in the bar. “The girls earned more,” said Schuettler, who only gave a route. “I don’t care what time they go to bed, it’s not too early.”
But on Sunday, some parts of the team already moved on to the next tournaments. After all, Lees (123rd) and Friedsam (145th) are not in a good position to automatically enter the main draw at the first Grand Slam of the new season in Australia. Unlike Kerber and Co., they will therefore need to take every opportunity to collect points and perhaps still avoid a difficult qualification in Melbourne.
An optimistic shaker
The new German female tennis players are still a long way from the success of the golden generation around Kerber, Petkovic and Co. In Rijeka, however, they noted that the fear gap may not be as large as feared. “The young players are good enough for that. “The sooner they get invited to play, the better for the concussions,” Schuetler said. Especially with other young players stepping up in Nastasya Shunka or Noma Noha Akug.
“We shouldn’t worry too much. We have a very good future ahead of us,” said Petkovic as a Tennis Channel expert. “Sometimes you have to be patient. It will take them another two or three years, but they showed what they are made of here,” Rittner said, praising Germany’s youngest team in many years. “We’re still going to have a lot of fun with them in the Billie Jean King Bowl.” Maybe already in 2023, when it starts on April 14/15. April in a long-awaited home match against Brazil against the current world no.15. Beatriz Haddad Maya leaves.
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