There was something deeply moving about watching world No.6 JULIANE SCHENK sob into her hands the moment she realized she’d won the Singapore Open. It was the first major title in a nearly decade-long career. The German had been in three Superseries finals before, but she’d fallen short each time. Eventually, it all came together during a dramatic final on Sunday, when, trailing by three game points in the second set to Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Shao Chieh, and seeing four of her match points being saved, she did not allow herself to get frustrated. After the final point was won, the 29-year-old knelt down on court in a thanksgiving gesture – an indication of how much this meant to her. In this exclusive interview with Dev S Sukumar, Schenk talks about the victory:
Your immediate thoughts on winning your first Superseries title?
Fantastic to finally win a major title — relief and happiness!!!
You seemed to be very emotional after winning match point. What was going through your mind?
I had a lot of tough matches during the week. I had my chances in previous finals and always stayed patient, but I knew one time I would be on top. Of course now it is done I am really thankful!
How would you rate this Superseries victory with your other achievements? Is this your best-ever moment?
Although the five players ranked higher than me in the world ranking skipped this event, I nevertheless had lots of world class opponents. It is definitely one of my greatest achievements and biggest moments: right in time for a huge boost of confidence heading to the Olympics: for me and of course the crowd and supporters at home.
You won the first game quite easily but the second game was a lot tougher. How difficult was it to play Cheng Shao Chieh?
In the beginning I had good control of the match and had lots of great variations and powerful attacking (shots) which helped to score and force Cheng’s errors.
In the second set she played against the wind and this fits her game really well. She had better control and made me run to the four corners, giving me a tough time…
The rallies got longer and the match turned into a really big fight in the second set.
Will this victory give you a huge boost for your Olympic preparations?
Like I already mentioned, it is a boost of confidence not only for me but for all fans and supporters.
When you look back over your career, are you surprised that it has taken you so long to win a Superseries title?
No, definitely not, because I think the way of my sports career is really special and I almost took every single step I could. Therefore it needed time to get things to happen, but I learned very good lessons from my mental coach and now I know that the time is ripe for winning a title.