Jule Niemeier continues to play only a supporting role in the big Serena Williams show during the US Open. But Germany's only remaining tournament hope doesn't want to complain about that.
"It's legitimate that she's getting more attention than everyone else at the moment. That's no shame," said the tennis player. And anyway: "Everyone writes their own story."
Niemeier's story in New York isn't bad either: The 23-year-old is in the third round, while the other seven German starters had already failed at the opening hurdle. The Dortmund native proves in an impressive way that her surprising entry into the quarter-finals in Wimbledon two months ago was no coincidence. That she may one day be able to follow in the footsteps of Angelique Kerber, who is currently missing because of her pregnancy and who has already won three Grand Slam tournaments.
Niemeier: "I want to enjoy every match"
"I'm not really thinking about a Grand Slam victory yet," said Niemeier. She wanted to "enjoy every match, absorb everything and take it with her". Also in the third round duel against the 19-year-old Chinese Zheng Qinwen on Saturday. "She's a very good player, she has an extremely hard forehand and can play very quickly," said Niemeier, number 108 in the world, before the duo's third duel.
And Niemeier needs nerves of steel again. Against Putintseva, who wanted to provoke with some antics, the youngster remained surprisingly calm. "I knew that she could be very toxic on the pitch," said Niemeier: "She threw the bat two or three times, but that didn't really bother me." In the game it is much easier for her to concentrate on the essentials than in training - "I don't think that's so bad".
Christopher Kas is again responsible for the match plan. The coach has been in charge of Niemeier for five months, before that he had led Sabine Lisicki and Mona Barthel to success. The former doubles specialist believes Niemeier will only start "playing her best tennis" in a year and a half. Until then, she has to get a little fitter physically, said national coach Barbara Rittner: If she weighs two or three kilograms less, the dynamic right-hander would be "more agile and mobile".
Trainer Kas tut Niemeier gut
Kas didn't just raise Niemeier to a new level in terms of tactics. The former professional is also good for her emotionally. "He's extremely positive, always in a good mood," said the athlete. Niemeier himself is more of an introvert. Loud, wild, restless - that's New York, especially the tennis courts in Flushing Meadows Park. But Jule Niemeier is not like that. That's why she stays away from all the hustle and bustle and tries to "get away from the facility as quickly as possible" and "to get some peace into everyday life".
Serena Williams is completely different. The tennis icon, who was eliminated in doubles with her sister Venus on Friday night, enjoys a lot of attention at her farewell tournament. Niemeier begrudges the 23-time Grand Slam tournament winner, because: "That doesn't mean that the other players are worse or aren't valued as much as they are."