Jelena Ostapenko, twelfth in the world rankings, leads the registration list at TC Bad Vilbel. With the home game against Vaihingen, the tennis women start the Bundesliga summer on Friday. The 2019 champion has nine top 200 players in the world.
German champion 2019, Corona season failure 2020, oh-and-noise relegation 2021. And 2022? Staying up in the league is a top priority, says Tobias Schade, head of the women’s Bundesliga squad in TC Bad Vilbel, before the start of the season. The game plan gives the Brunnenstadters the duels with the newly promoted Vaihingen (Friday at 13 at their own facility) and Berlin (Sunday at 11 on the road).
How has the squad changed? Half a dozen players already celebrated the title with Bad Vilbel in 2019. Another six players from last year’s squad will be there again in 2022. But one identifying figure is missing: Jule Niemeier. Dortmunderen played in the regional league for Bad Vilbel from 2017. Now the 22-year-old – already number 110 in the world – earns for the competitor TC Bredeney.
The biggest fluctuation in the squad was in the top positions. Jelena Ostapenko (1./French Open winner 2017), Maryna Zanevska (3./WTA 70), Viktoria Tomova (5./WTA 115), Ekatarine Gordodze (6./WTA 118), Lucrezia Stefanini (8./WTA 152 ) and Susan Bandecchi (9./WTA 194) are registered for TCBV for the first time. Famous names are Jasmine Paolini (2./WTA 46), Kirsten Flipkens (4./French Open double semifinalist 2018), Lesley Kerkhove (7./WTA 140) and Bibiane Schoofs (10). They will be the core of the team with Richel Hogenkamp (11th), Antionia Lottner (12th), Jessica Pieri (13th), Lara Arrubarrena (14th), Bianca Turati (15th) and the local hero Mara Guth (16th). ). Julia Terziyska Finja Mahl is also registered.
Who is Team Boss? Marcello Craca has left Bad Vilbel. Following the rise in 2018 – under the late Larry Cooper – the former professional took over responsibility for the squad and led the newcomer to win the title. The cancellation of the 2020 season was followed by a relegation battle in 2021. Craca left Bad Vilbel last fall.
The sporting leadership of the Bundesliga team is now in the hands of Tobias Schade. The 37-year-old DTB B license enters its tenth season in Bad Vilbel. “I looked Marcello over the shoulder last year and got to know the Bundesliga and all its structures. This is obviously an advantage when you start. I have great respect, and at the same time I really love this task, “says Schade, who is backed by Marco Ockernahl.
What are the goals? Relegation is a top priority, says Schade; especially in the light of the experience of the previous year. Due to more lucrative tournament opportunities at the same time and due to injury-related absences, TCBV sometimes had massive problems with allowing six players to compete at all. Some matches were given without a match. “There was a lot of overlap with the international tournament calendar due to the postponement of the Bundesliga match days. I think we have now got a little more stability in the schedule,” said Schade.
Who is available when ? It’s pretty much open. “The players can’t be determined,” said Schade, who has to keep an eye on the tournament calendar the week before the matches and react. Mara Guth from Usingen-Merzhausen, “the face of the region”, as Schade puts it, is likely to be part of the squad for the most part. She is one of the great young German hopes. A significant step forward is Antonia Lottner, who as former number 128 in the world (currently 675) wants to gather combat training and catch up after being thrown back by injuries. Schade expects Viktoriya Tomova and Ekatarine Gorgodze to play in “three to four matches”. Last year, Richel Hogenkamp and Bianca Turati were (almost) always there. And Ostapenko? “Of course we want to see them in a home game. Whether it will be implemented remains to be seen,” said the team manager.
Who is the favorite? TC Bredeney won the championship undefeated last year and is also favored in the summer of 2022. With Tatjana Maria and Jule Niemeier, two ex-Vilbelers have joined. No other team is so balanced in terms of quality. The top twelve places in the squad are all top 200 players.
According to the registration list, Dresden-Blasewitz with Andrea Petkovic and Aachen can be expected behind Essen. Newcomers Vaihingen and Berlin will probably find themselves in the relegation battle
When is the game played in Bad Vilbel? The home matches are scheduled for May 6 (Friday at 1pm) against Vaihingen, June 4 (Saturday at 11am) against Aachen and July 2 (Saturday at 11am) against Bredeney. TCBV plays away on May 8 (Sunday at 11.00) in Berlin, on May 14 (Saturday at 11.00) in Dresden and on July 9 (Saturday at 11.00) in Stuttgart.