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Tatjana Maria is shocking the tennis world at Wimbledon 2022. Ranked No. 103 in the world and having never advanced beyond the third round in 34 previous Grand Slam appearances, the German player is officially moving on to the Wimbledon semifinals — just over a year since giving birth to her second child, Cecilia.
“I have goosebumps everywhere,” Maria said in an emotional on-court interview after her quarterfinal win against Jule Niemeier. “It’s a dream. A dream to live this with my family, with my two little girls. I mean, one year ago, I [had just given] birth . . . it’s crazy.”
Maria’s oldest daughter, 8-year-old Charlotte, is a talented tennis player in her own right, and Maria’s daily Wimbledon routine starts with taking Charlotte to her practice at 8:30 a.m. Even as she advances to the semifinal, the 34-year-old has no plans to change her schedule.
“For me, that’s the most important thing in my life: to be a mom of two kids,” Maria said in her postmatch press conference. “Nothing will change this . . . I’m in the semifinal of Wimbledon and it’s crazy, but I’m still a mom, and after this, I will go out over there and see my kids and do the same thing I do every single day. I will change Pampers, everything as normal. I try to keep [things] normal as much as possible.”
Being a mom, Maria adds, is what makes her proudest, and her tennis career has only flourished as her family has grown. As for her priorities, though: “They are my kids,” she said. “I play tennis, I want to do my best . . . [but] my kids are the priority.”
Even as she toiled away from the tennis spotlight, Maria always kept faith that this kind of win at Wimbledon was possible for her: “I always believed that I have something inside, that I can do this,” she said. “I always believed in this. But to be now here in this spot . . . One year ago, I gave birth to my second daughter, and if somebody would tell me one year later, ‘You’re in the semifinal of Wimbledon,’ that’s crazy.”
Next up is an exciting semifinal matchup against Ons Jabeur, who’s making history in her own right as the first Arab woman and North African woman to reach this stage of a Grand Slam. It’s a match Maria is looking forward to for personal reasons, too. “Ons is like part of our family,” she said on court, prior to Jabeur’s quarterfinal victory. “She loves our kids . . . she’s playing with Charlotte all the time, she loves [Cecilia]. I mean, it would be great to play Ons.”
On July 7, she’ll get to. Both of them will gear up for what will be the first Grand Slam semifinal for either player. For Maria’s part, defying the expectations is nothing new — now, she’s just doing it on a bigger stage. “I guess there were a lot of people that never believed that I will come back,” she reflected. “This was already after [I had] Charlotte and when I changed my backhand. . . . Everybody was doubting. It’s a little bit my life to show everybody that I’m still here and I’m a fighter. And I keep going, and I keep dreaming, and that’s what I want to show my kids.”