Goerges hails rise of the Germans
Originally published on: 22/02/12 15:31
Following in the footsteps of Steffi Graf has not been easy for subsequent generations of her fellow countrywomen, but this week’s world rankings list was a sight for sore German eyes. With four Germans in the top 20 for the first time in 24 years, Julia Goerges went out and celebrated in the best possible fashion by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova, last year’s beaten finalist, in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Championships.
“It’s showing that we are doing the right things in Germany,” Goerges said after her best victory of the year so far. “Some years ago they always said: ‘We don’t have any Steffi Grafs any more.’ Steffi is a legend. We will never achieve what she has achieved, but we are just trying to get closer to it. We are. I think we did a pretty good job in the last year and also this year already.”
The current top-ranked Germans are Andrea Petkovic (No.10), Sabine Lisicki (No.13), Goerges (No.19) and Angelique Kerber (No.20), who are all aged between 22 and 24. Goerges and Lisicki were not even born in July 1988, when Germany last had four players in the top 20: Graf, Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Sylvia Hanika and Bettina Bunge.
With such strength in depth Germany are likely to become a force again in the Fed Cup, although the absence of the injured Petkovic proved costly when they lost in the first round of the World Group earlier this month to the Czech Republic. “We get along pretty well,” Goerges said of the German team. “In the Fed Cup we’re always having fun. It’s a nice week.”
While Goerges’ progress has been steady, Kerber has made a spectacular rise, having been outside the top 100 only six months ago. Look out, too, for another fast-climbing German. Mona Barthel was ranked outside the top 200 at the start of last year but is now up to No 37.