🇩🇪 Germany 👶 18 ⬆️ 5’10” 🤚Right-handed
Jule Niemeier played her first Slam in the Juniors at the 2017 Australian Open. We spoke after her first round win over 9th seed Ayumi Miyamoto 7-6 4-6 8-6.
VT – Congratulations on your first win in a Grand Slam.
JN – Yes, my first win in a Slam!
VT – It was a long match, over three hours. Did you feel tired at any point and wonder if you could go on?
JN – Yeah. Yeah. It was 5-6 in the third, I felt so tired. I was cramping but then I called the physio. I also had some shoulder pain and then I had some time to rest and it felt good. Now it also feels good.
VT – It was an especially good win as your opponent Ayumi Miyamoto was seeded. Had you played her before?
JN – No, but I knew she would play good, hit flat like a lot of the Asian players. I was pretty tight in the beginning, although I was 3-0 in the first set. And then I was a bit tired from the heat and it was hard to see on court.
VT – Yes, some of the court was in bright sunlight and some patches in shadows. It must have been difficult.
JN – Yes, very tough.
VT – Do you think playing qualifying worked you into form and fitness for the Open?
JN – Well, I played the tournament in Traralgon before the qualies. I played in the third round, had one day off, played doubles as well and then played qualies. The first round was very tough, also against a girl from Japan [Satoko Sueno]. She played really good; it was tough. After qualies, I had one day off again and now first round here.
VT – And you have doubles?
JN – Yes, tomorrow or Monday. I’m playing with Ali Collins from Great Britain. We played together last week [in Traralgon] and we chose to play together here. We’re playing really good. And we’re also sharing a room here.
VT – Just to go back a bit now. You started playing tennis at three. Did your parents play and teach you?
JN – My mum was playing tennis; club matches, and my brothers also played tennis and so I wanted to try. So I started playing and it was fun and now I’m here.
VT – When did you decide you wanted to play professionally?
JN – 2015, when I finished school. I went to Frankfurt to the Alexander Waske Tennis University and now I’m trying to turn professional. Practising every day, playing tournaments. Three in a row, one week at home, two in a row. It’s pretty tough.
VT – Do you have family here? I saw some people hugging you at the court.
JN – Yeah, my Aunt is here from Adelaide. So my parents decided to come here as well. And my friend from Germany is here too.
VT – When you were a child, who were your role models in tennis?
JN – Rafa. That’s why I asked the lady today after my match, who won his match. What was the score, actually?
VT – He won 6-2 in the fifth.
JN – Oh, that’s so good!
VT – And now who are your role models?
JN – Still Rafa. That’s why I’m so happy today. I won and he also won.
🎾 🎾 🎾 🎾 🎾
Niemeier lost her second round singles match to Zeel Desai of India, 4-6 2-6. On an outside court with little shade, the 36°C heat combined with oppressive humidity affected the German player more than the Indian.
After the match, she described the playing conditions as, “exhausting, completely.
“I had the feeling to throw up, all the time. I had no energy. I was trying to put some water and also some ice. But I don’t know, it didn’t work.”
In the doubles, Niemeier partnered with Ali Collins and progressed to the quarterfinals, losing to the eventual champions Carson Branstine and Bianca Andreescu in a match tiebreak, 4-6 6-1 3-10.
UPDATE May 2021 Stasbourg
After graduating from Juniors, Jule Niemeier struggled with injuries for a few years and her ranking stayed around the 300s.
She began 2021 ranked 261 and made a solid start to the year on the ITF/TENNIS Europe circuit. As a qualifier, Niemeier won the W25 Prague Open, but was bumped out in the first round of qualifying at her next event, the WTA 250 Serbia Ladies Open.
She overcame that disappointment the following week at the WTA 250 Internationaux de Strasbourg. There she scored her first win against a Top 50 player, Shelley Rogers, in the Round of 16, before having to return to court later that same day to play her quarter final against Arantxa Rus.
Niemeier looked fresh despite her earlier match. Her power and smart shot selection were her strengths, along with winning 82% of first service points. She stayed cool through losing her first three match points to secure victory 6-4 6-1.
After the match, she said, “I was pretty relaxed because I have nothing to lose with my ranking. I know what I can play but I’m definitely not the favourite. I was just playing and enjoying every minute on court today.”
The following day Niemeier fronted her semi against Barbora Krejčíková with her shoulder strapped and made many more unforced errors than in her previous matches. Still, it was a tight match that Krejčíková won 6-4 in the third. [Krejčíková went on to win Roland Garros a few weeks later.]
Niemeier had entered Strasbourg ranked 216 and ended the week ranked 170. Germany’s top three women players — Kerber, Siegemund and Petkovic — are all aged 33. The German tennis sector and fans will be hoping Niemeier stays injury free and that her progress rapidly continues.
Title photo by Vanessa Taylor