Jule Niemeier started his journey home from New York with mixed feelings. On the long return flight, the new German tennis hope was given plenty of time to process the anger at the bitter round of 16 at the US Open and to be happy about what was achieved.
"There's still a lot of frustration, I can't see the positive things yet," admitted the 23-year-old at Eurosport: "I'm going to fly back now, withdraw a bit, drive down - and then I think that in the next two three days there will also be a lot of pride."
In the round of the top 16, Niemeier had disenchanted the world number one Iga Swiatek for a sentence, then she was given a lesson herself. It's no wonder that Niemeier wasn't really able to emotionally understand the 6:2, 4:6, 0:6 against the top seeded Pole. But the Dortmund native knew one thing in any case: the brilliant first set is her standard from now on.
"We will have a lot of fun at Jule"
"If I can play that against the number one in the world, then I can also do that against the others," said Niemeier, who also issued a small warning to Swiatek and Co. If she gets more consistency in her game, "then I can become very, very dangerous on the tour and beat a lot of good players".
For her coach Christopher Kas, the first set, in which Niemeier's dreaded serve worked, she showed a very variable and courageous game and strong nerves, was "absolute world class". But Kas also added: "Jule has not yet arrived in the world class. We will continue to approach that." Kas, who has already led Sabine Lisicki and Mona Barthel to success, is certain: "We will still have a lot of fun with Jule."
"There's a lot of potential there"
"There is a lot of potential there, I hope that I can exploit it in the coming months and years," said Niemeier, who got hungry for more after the first Grand Slam year 2022, which was outstanding for her: "Just because I have one , having played two good tournaments doesn't mean it's the end."
Niemeier is one for the big squares
In order to maybe even play for the title at some point, the dynamic and powerful athlete still has to improve her footwork and fitness. She has worked hard on both things over the past few months, and the progress was evident on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows Park. "I notice that I'm more stable in the corners, that I can go for longer rallies and that I'm recovering well," said Niemeier.
But the climber has a gift that cannot be learned. "She's really one for the big places, for the big stage," said national coach Barbara Rittner of the German Press Agency about what she believed to be "fearless" Niemeier: "I find her will and courage to play her offensive game impressive. "
Nadal is looking forward to the birth of his son
Perhaps it comforted Niemeier that the great tennis star Rafael Nadal said goodbye in the same round as her. The 22-time Grand Slam tournament winner lost 4: 6, 6: 4, 4: 6, 3: 6 against the American Frances Tiafoe, who played like unleashed.
"I have much more important things to take care of than tennis," said the Spaniard, who longed to be by the side of his heavily pregnant wife Xisca Perelló. "Now is the moment to have my first son and hope everything will be fine." When he returns to the professional tour, the tired-looking Mallorcan left open: "If I feel like I'm ready for the competition, then I'll be there."