The intermediate round of the German Ladies’ Series brought you to Darmstadt for TC Bessungen. What memories do you have of the system?
I played here a lot at the $ 25,000 tournament and also won in 2012 with seven qualification wins. I’ll never forget that, I was so exhausted at the end! These are nice memories. Bessungen was also one of the steps for me on the way to the top 100. I had only played these $ 25,000 tournaments for a while just to have a ranking for the Bundesliga, but then it suddenly started. These little tournaments are very important for the development of players like me. You can work your way up with them. Of course there are also professionals who play twice and are so good that they skip the smaller tournaments, but for most it is different. They need these tournaments to get up over time.
In 2017 you were listed at number 27 in the world rankings, won the Grand Prix tournament in Stuttgart – and then tore your cruciate ligament before the French Open. What has happened – in fast motion – since then?
It was ten months before I could play tournaments again. It was a long way back. Only the rehab, but also the 2018 season, was very demanding because my body was no longer as before. I don’t mean the knee, it worked perfectly again, but everything else, the whole system, the whole body was out of balance. I was constantly working with injuries of all kinds, I had to learn that the body not only takes effort, but also time to find itself again, you cannot accelerate this at will. Nevertheless, I managed to get back into the top 100 in 2018, that was important. To fall far behind in the ranking is dangerous. The fact is that you get used to the performance class in which you play in all directions. If you play long 25,000 tournaments, you get used to this level. If you play at the top 50 level long enough, you get used to it. So it’s important not to mess around too long.
Your game lives from fitness, from the work ethic, can you put it that way?
Yes, my game is based on my physique: I have to run a lot, have to go through long rallies, I need constant fitness over a tournament, all season long. If it is not there, it will be tight.
How did things go in 2019?
2019 was solid. No giant highlights. But also weeks when things rattled. Weeks in which everything is brought together: the mental, the physical, the playful quality. The direction was right, towards the top 50. In 2020 I started very well, position 65, that was good, but I don’t get my motivation from the ranking, but from the quality of my game. I want to add things, I want new inputs, I want new opportunities. I don’t just want to go where I’ve been. I want to go to something new. I get my motivation from that.
What role does age play in this?
I’m 32, it’s not that easy anymore, I can’t say, okay, I’ll do everything differently from today. The body is no longer the youngest, it is used to many things, so you have to be careful. I do not lack the will, but some things no longer work, so you have to be clever and find a way to achieve your goal under the given possibilities. If you can no longer practice the stroke a thousand times, then you have to find the basic trust that it will work after two hundred times at the crucial moment.