Julia Goerges is set to compete against Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Thursday morning. It is her first time making it this far to the internationally renowned tennis tournament, and to reporters at a press conference earlier in the week, the German tennis player said, “I don’t have many words to describe [what] I’m going through right now, because it’s pretty unreal for me.”
“If you ask someone about tennis, the first thing they know is Wimbledon,” Goerges added. “It’s sweeter to get to the semi-final here [than other Grand Slams] because I didn’t expect it.”
With a #TeamJule hashtag splayed all over social media, Goerges is a 29-year-old German tennis player who totally revolutionized her tennis game three years ago. Here’s what you need to know.
1. This is Her First Appearance at the Semifinals of Wimbledon
Though this isn’t Goerge’s first time to Wimbledon, it’s her first time advancing past the first round of the infamous tennis tournament. Goerges has suffered five consecutive first-round defeats at Wimbledon leading up to this year, and according to Telegraph UK, she’s suffered a whopping 42 grand slam appearances without advancing past the fourth round once.
Goerges was so surprised by her quarter-final victory at Wimbledon on Tuesday that she actually apologized to her friend and competitor Kiki Bertens.
Bertens said, “I said to her, ‘You don’t have to be sorry’. I’m really happy for you. You really deserved this. Keep on going, you can do this.'”
2. She’s 14 Years Younger Than Williams, & Fell Off the Map For Several Years
At 29 years old, Goerges is Williams’ junior by 14 years. But that’s not the only thing separating Goerges and Williams. According to ESPN, Georges made a massive change in the way that she approached her game three years ago.
At 26 years old, after seven years with her same support team, Goerges reportedly cleaned house and changed the way that she approached her game. “I went completely in a new way,” she said at Wimbledon on Tuesday. “I took a new physio, a new coach. I changed my residence. I [moved] from the north to the south of Germany, really to start everything from zero.”
Goerges added, “I think I was under my potential, what I’m capable of doing. I think now the moment I’m living — it just shows me that I was right, that I actually took a good decision.”
Of meeting Williams at the semi-finals, Goerges said in a press conference after her quarter-final win, “Obviously [Williams] has won so many titles here, a lot of Grand Slams besides Wimbledon, while it’s a great opportunity for me to meet her at that stage, and it’s an honor to share the court with her, but I will sort out some tactics with my team, and we’ll be ready for Thursday.”
3. She’s Won Over Seven Million Dollars in Prize Money Since 2010
According to ESPN, Goerges has earned a cumulative $7,307,308 in prize money for tennis matches since 2010. This includes a year-high amount of 1.6 million dollars in 2017, though it doesn’t mean that this money came from an individual event. Goerges has won a cumulative 423 tennis matches in the singles category, and has lost 299.
This is no small sum of money, but it certainly pales in comparison to the $84,811,149 that Williams has earned in prize money since 2007, including a year high 10.5 million dollars in 2015.
To be clear, neither of these figures account for either player’s sponsorships. Goerges is sponsored by Aasics (she used to be sponsored by Nike, as seen in the video above), while Williams has large sponsorship deals with Nike and Gatorade, among others.
4. She’s a Big Fan of Ed Sheeran, Roger Federer & ‘The Bachelor’
In a rapid-fire question and answer game in the video seen above, Goerges admitted that her musical addiction is Ed Sheeran. “Just everything of his,” she said, though she was quick to clarify that she can’t actually sing any of his songs. “Oh my goodness, I don’t sing. No, you won’t get it out of me.”
She also admitted that her dream car is a Porsche, and that her favorite show is ‘The Bachelor’, “even though I don’t like this whole scenario there, I still watch [it]… it’s not really good, but.”
5. Williams Has Played Against Her in the Past- & Won
Goerges and Williams have come up head to head in tennis matches multiple times leading up to this semi-finals appearance, and Williams has beaten Goerges every time.
The two tennis players have competed against one another as early as 2010, though their most recent competition was in June this year, when Williams beat Georges at the French Open in the fourth round.
Of playing Goerges weeks later in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Williams said in her own press conference that Goerges was a “nice, professional” girl, then said, “[My previous match against Goerges] doesn’t matter, it’s a new surface, it’s everything…and we’re starting from zero, so I’m going to go out there and just do what I can and do my best.”