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3 - 11 feb. 2024 Cluj-Napoca

Tatjana Maria: “I try to be an example for my daughter. This is more important to me than my tennis game!”

Tatjana Maria arrived in Cluj on Sunday, arriving from Thailand (Hua Hin), after a short stopover in Frankfurt. “We’ve been traveling so much that we haven’t realized the time zone changes yet”, jokes Tatjana, the WTA number 49 and the second favorite at the 2024 Transylvania Open.

It is her first visit to Cluj, where she will debut against the Chinese player Zhuoxuan Bai, whom she defeated in their only direct meeting, last fall in Guangzhou. “She played as well in Hua Hin, so we had the same route until now, we had the same long road. I remember playing with her last year (6-1, 6-2), I know her, but my husband – who is also my coach – will watch her game again and prepare the match.”

The semi-finalist at Wimbledon two years ago, Tatjana Maria (36 years old) is one of the most experienced players on the circuit. She travels everywhere with her husband and their two daughters (2 and 10 years old), which represents one of the reasons why she is really happy about the conditions in Cluj. “I’m happy to be here with my family, I know this was voted the best WTA250 tournament, and now I understand why. We have everything close by, the hotel is next to the gym, we can come here on foot, we have the park nearby, so everything is nice and, especially for us, who travel with children, it makes everything very easy. I think that’s the most important thing.”

Another important thing is related to the goals that Tatjana Maria has set for herself this year. She set herself a target to play better than last year in the 2024 big tournaments. “I’m ranked around the 40th place, but last year I didn’t play very well in the big tournaments. I would like to change that. It’s my personal goal”, says the player born in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany.

Speaking of goals, Tatjana has a key addition to them: “I think in general I have different goals than a lot of other players on the circuit, because I have two children, and Charlotte – who is 10 years old – also plays performance tennis. For me, the most important thing now is that she gets better at playing and that we do the best we can for her so that she can go on her way. For me, as a mother, that’s more important than my tennis game.”

Tatjana’s approach is quite unusual on the circuit, where usually the tennis player wants everyone to be focused on him or her. In the case of Tatjana Maria, it is no longer like that. “Any mother, I think, would be happy if that happened. Of course, now I have a lot of experience on the circuit, I spent many years in this world, but as long as I am in good shape and I like playing tennis, I will continue. And I think Charlotte wants me to continue too, because she wants to play with me. And I like to see her progress. I mean, we have to try to do everything possible for her to improve, to go on and find her way, to fulfill her dreams. That’s our goal.