German world No. 18 Julia Goerges is a player on the rise. She made the fourth round at the 2012 Australian Open, her best Grand Slam result to date, and reached a career-high ranking of 15 last season. Goerges has won her way into the third round of the 2013 Australian Open, where she’ll face a former semifinalist in Jie Zheng of China. Goerges spoke with australianopen.com about what makes her special as player.
Australian Open: What would you say is your strength as a player?
Julia Goerges: I’m a pretty aggressive player with a good serve and forehand and I try to use them as much as I can. To be aggressive and going for my shots is one of my strengths.
AO: What is your favourite shot and why?
Goerges: I would say both serve and forehand. They are my biggest weapons and what I need to use well.
AO: How has your serve developed in recent years?
Goerges: It is getting better and better. I’ve been working a lot on it in the off-season, in particular the jump. I’m still trying to get my rhythm with it, but it went much better in the second round.
AO: What is the biggest improvement to your game in the past 12 months?
Goerges: Definitely my fitness- I’ve been improving that a lot over the past year. I wasn’t fit before but now I’m getting in a good shape with my body. I can feel it when I’m on the court- I’m moving better and getting smaller steps to my forehand. I got a new fitness coach a year ago and he is helping me a lot. We do some different stuff, including some athletic stuff, which has been helping me be more flexible on the court. It’s something I’m feeling satisfied about it.
AO: What is like playing in front of a crowd? Do you feed off them or ignore them?
Goerges: It’s nice to get support. I’ve been surprised with how big the crowds have been here when I’ve been playing so far. I really love and enjoy it.
AO: What is like sharing a locker room with your opponents on tour? Do you like to spend time with them when you are not playing?
Goerges: I’m a pretty open person. I’m not really closed and focused on myself. For me that only starts a few minutes before a match, otherwise I always try to be open and talk to the other players. I don’t like being only by myself. I like to be free.
AO: What goes through your mind during a match?
Goerges: I’ve stopped talking to myself because it didn’t really help me in the past. Of course you always have some mental things going on and you do try and talk to yourself in a good way on the inside.
AO: Is it sometimes hard to stay positive on court?
Goerges: It depends on the day. It’s like working in an office, not every day is the same day. You have just got to not let it affect you that much. It is sometimes hard to keep (your emotions) together but it makes you a better player if you can bluff a little bit and don’t show them to your opponent.
AO: Is controlling your emotions better something you’ve learnt since joining the professional tour?
Goerges: Yes, I think it is a question of experience. If you lose a match because your emotions go crazy, then you really learn out of it.
AO: Do you have any superstitions when you play?
Goerges: Not really, I’m not a superstitious girl. Sometimes you do the same things like with a dinner or going to the same place before a match, but on the court I’m not superstitious at all.
AO: Why do you believe you belong in the top 20?
Goerges: I have a dangerous game. I’ve showed it a lot of times already against top 10 players. The gap to the top 10 is always being more consistent. I’ve just made too many unforced errors and been up and down too many times in the season to get there yet.
AO: How high do you think you can get in the rankings?
Goerges: I’ve never thrown around a number and I won’t do it, but the goal for me is to be as consistent as possible and see how far it brings me.
Julia Georges plays Zheng Jie on Show Court 3 at 11 am today.