Events Juniors

Julia Stusek takes her first step into the big time – Bad Homburg Open 2024

By Vanessa Taylor

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Julia Stusek is still 15 for another five days but made her WTA main draw debut today at Bad Homburg.

One of the eight promising junior girls in Germany’s Porsche Talent Team, Stusek was granted a wild card into the qualifying event for this year’s Bad Homburg Open.

She put in a good effort against 26 year old Jaqueline Cristian of Romania, though her serve let her down while Cristian managed eight aces in a 6-3 6-4 win.

So Stusek returned to her school work on Monday and took a test in one of her favourite subjects, maths. Not long after, she heard she would become the luckiest Lucky Loser. She was the last of the four Lucky Losers from qualifying to be admitted to the main draw.

Julia Stusek’s Porsche Talent Team photo. Photo: Porsche

Stusek has a strong tennis pedigree through her Czech parents. Her father Tomas runs a tennis school and her mother Petra Holubová was ranked 132 in the world in 1992.

As well as training with her mother, Stusek has been coached by Melanie Molitor from the age of six. Molitor was also the coach of her daughter Martina Hingis, winner of seven singles grand slams, and 20 women’s and mixed doubles slams. Hingis became the youngest ever grand slam winner at 15, when she and Helena Suková won the Wimbledon doubles.

Although Stusek hails from the Baden region of Germany, she lives in Switzerland and played for the 2020—2021 TC Zug teams in the Swiss League, alongside Hingis. In a nice touch, Hingis has sometimes been an invested spectator at Stusek’s training and matches.

Stusek’s schooling is technically in Mannheim, Germany, though is mostly on-line. When in Germany, she plays tennis for Heidelberg 2nd Bundesliga (national league).

Julia Stusek and Julie Paštiková were finalists in the girls’ doubles final at the 2024 Australian Open. Photo: Tennis Australia

At the start of the year, she and Czech partner Julie Paštiková went all the way to the Australian Open Girls’ doubles final. Despite going down to US pair Tyra Caterina Grant and Iva Jovic, 3-6 1-6, the experience of playing a Slam was invaluable.

Her first women’s event was actually the ITF 60 Hamburg Ladies and Gents Cup in October 2022, when she was 14. She qualified for the main draw and proceeded to win her first women’s match.

It’s still a huge leap to the main draw of the WTA 500 that is the Bad Homburg Open.

With a current world junior ranking of 35 and a women’s ranking of 913, Stusek faced her first round opponent, US player Peyton Stearns – seven years older and ranked 854 places above her.

Julia Stusek playing Peyton Stearns in the Bad Homburg Open. Photo: Paul Zimmer / Bad Homburg Open

Not surprisingly, she took time to settle into the match, losing the first set 2-6. But she pushed Stearns in the second set, with the encouragement of the German fans at Court 1. Stearns finally took the set 7-5.

After the match, Stusek spoke (in German) to Sky Sport. “Of course, I was a bit nervous because it’s not everyday you play against players like that.

“In the end, it didn’t work out the way I wanted. But on the other hand, it was a great experience.

“I’m super grateful for every moment that I was able to be on that court.”

As Julia Stusek gets older her power will naturally increase and experience will improve the consistency of her serve. She already has the touch, variety and tennis smarts to go a long way.

Title photo of Julia Stusek playing in the first round at Bad Homburg by Jimmie48 / WTA

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