Tatjana Maria in an interview about motherhood, tournament wins, travel and criticism of the WTA

Tatyana Maria
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“Mothers need more help on the tennis trip”

Tatjana Maria was the first mother to win two tennis tournaments on the WTA Tour. In the interview, she talks about being a mother as an active athlete, training with her daughter and making demands on the associations.

Mrs. Maria, a few weeks ago, as the mother of two, you celebrated your second tournament victory on the WTA Tour, thus writing tennis history. Has this success changed anything?

Maria Everything is the same at home. Having two children does not change the daily rhythm (laughs). But I get more attention in sports. When I go to tournaments, many athletes congratulate me, and the interview requests have also increased. But it took me a long time to realize what that means for tennis and for me.

Has the women’s professional organization WTA contacted you? After winning the tournament, they finally criticized that pregnant women and mothers do not have it easy on the tour.

Maria Nothing has happened yet in the WTA and I fear that time will pass too. But we players have it in our own hands. Taylor Townsend recently won a tournament after her pregnancy last year. So it is becoming more and more common for mothers to win trophies on tour. It is therefore imperative that there is a rule that pregnant women are not considered injured. That’s absurd. But it’s not just about the WTA – the German Tennis Federation has not done much for me either. I wish I had a little more support.

Many female athletes wait until after their careers before wanting children so as not to endanger them. What do you think needs to change so that female athletes do not have to ask themselves this question in the first place?

Maria We need more help in general. As mothers, we could not currently travel alone on the trip. At most tournaments, there is no childcare, you can not leave your child anywhere. It’s different with the Grand Slam tournaments – but there are only four of them a year. Not even in the next major tournaments are there such opportunities on a regular basis. However, it is nice for the kids. At the Grand Slam tournaments, everyone plays – whether it’s Roger Federers or me.

Have you always realized how difficult the way back can be?

Maria It was always clear to me that I would come back and play on the tour. Therefore, before both pregnancies, there was no doubt as to whether or not I would continue. We wanted to travel the world as a family and play tournaments. I admit we have the perfect combination because my husband is also my coach and Charlotte, my older daughter, also plays tennis.

Can you just switch the switch between being a mom and being a tennis pro?

Maria At first it was a little strange. But I know my husband knows how to handle the kids. When I go to the tennis court, I can concentrate 100 percent on the game.

What has changed for you as a result of having two children on the trip?

Maria Everything has become easier (laughs). I enjoy traveling a lot more. There used to be so much time in tournaments that you really could not do anything with them. Now I take care of my kids and it’s super nice to see how excited Charlotte is about the many new places.

What does everyday life look like for you?

Maria My husband and I are relaxed on the road. It’s really easy because I train with Charlotte at the facility two hours in the morning and then we do something together for school. I teach them myself. We always keep Cecilia awake until I have my match so she can sleep (laughs). In addition, my husband’s mother often comes along.

Do you train with your daughter?

Maria Yes! She has inherited the talent from me and my husband (laughs). She loves to play tennis and I want to be a good role model for her. We play together from baseline and then we do curve exercises together. This is completely normal – we are real training partners. I do not need a hit partner anymore. At tournaments, I always say that others can play with Charlotte (laughs). They like to do that.

When you travel as much as you do, is there a home for you and your children at all?

Maria I always like to come to Germany. I’m German and I’m always happy when I’m back. But I feel super comfortable in the US and we will definitely stay here. Thank God Charlotte has no problem traveling. For her, it is quite normal that she sees the kids for one tournament and others for the other tournament. She has now found friends, and new places fascinate her anyway. We are simply at home in the big world.

Now it’s off to Paris for the French Open, you’re in the main draw, you won a clay court tournament in Bogota. What are your expectations when you go there?

Maria It’s banal: but I’m trying to implement what I’m developing in training. This works better some days than others. But the tournament in Bogota showed that I am on the right track. In Roland Garros, I just want to enjoy the tournament and get the rhythm going. I need to feel good and be in shape. Then we’ll see.

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