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Nastasja Schunk in front of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix: "My family thought I was crazy"

Thanks to a wildcard, Nastasja Schunk from the Porsche Talent Team will start qualifying at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (from April 17th). The 17-year-old celebrated fourth place in the German Pro Series last year and reached the final of the German championships. She is currently 75th in the junior ranking and 969th in the WTA world rankings.

by Florian Goosmann
last edit: Apr 08, 2021, 07:04 pm

Nastasja Schunk
© Mathias Schulz
Nastasja Schunk

Nastasja, we can reach you in Stuttgart - why is that?

We are all in Stuttgart at the moment, taking the performance diagnostic tests. In between we train together. I play regularly at BASF Ludwigshafen, where I also live nearby. But in the last few weeks I have trained several times with Barbara Rittner in Stuttgart. She also called me because Andrea Petkovic was looking for someone to train. That made me very happy. We were together in Stuttgart for three days, and I got to know her very well.

What do you take with you after three days of training with a top player?

You can learn a lot in a playful way, but also some things off the field. She didn't have a trainer with her during those days either, so it was interesting to see how she pulled everything off for herself. But of course, she is a bit older and has the appropriate experience. She also gave me tips, that was really cool.

You finished fourth in the German Pro Series last year - with strong games, a narrow defeat against Mona Barthel, with a win over Laura Siegemund. Were you surprised to be able to keep up so well?

The difficult part was at the beginning, we hadn't played any tournaments for a while due to the Corona break, we had no match practice. In training I felt like I was playing well, I felt good. But in the end I didn't know where I was. Because of the many matches I got in well. I had seen Laura play before and knew that if I play well, I had a chance. The difficult thing is that she has a very uncomfortable game, can upset you.

In 2020 you also started with the first ITF tournaments for women, where you also got off to a good start with two semi-finals.

I lost to Noma once, but I could have won more with the other, so I was very disappointed. But looking back, I'm happy: two semi-finals in the first 15,000, that was pretty good.

Together with Noma, you received a wildcard for qualifying at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. How did you find out about it?

Barbara called me and told me. I didn't expect it at all. On the phone, I tried to remain relatively calm. But when I hung up my family thought I was crazy because I was so happy (laughs) . I am very happy to be there!

Do you have a connection to the tournament, have you already been there as a spectator?

Yes, I know Anke Huber a little. She once gave me cards. I went there with my father once, and two years ago I also had tickets, so I was even allowed to go down to the players, that was really cool.

# IMG2 #

What's your plan for this season?

The Junior Grand Slams are on the program - when they take place and I get in. Otherwise, I try to play more ITF women's tournaments. But it's difficult at the moment, they are very well staffed, so I have to go through qualifying first. So win three matches there, then at least one more in the main field to even get a point for the world rankings. It is quite tedious.

Are the ITF tournaments currently better attended than usual because there are fewer opportunities to play due to the corona pandemic?

In any case, the line-up cannot be compared to what it was like before Corona. In general, however, I am quite relaxed when traveling. We do tests on a regular basis. But it has also happened to me that I wanted to fly back from Spain, stood alone at the airport and wasn't allowed to go because I needed a PCR test - I thought you had to do it in Germany first. But that had been changed three days before. I couldn't fly back until two days later.

Do you have any role models or favorite players?

I don't have any role models, but I like Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu's game. Although I want to play my own game, with quick basic strokes and a good serve.

You are left handed. Do you notice an advantage here?

I used to find it more extreme because hardly anyone played with left-handers. The higher the level, however, the more it is evened out. Many say they think it's bad to play against us (laughs) . But at some point they unfortunately get used to it.

Nastasja, thank you very much for the interview and good luck in Stuttgart!

by Florian Goosmann

Apr 08, 2021, 08:05 pm
last edit: Apr 08, 2021, 07:04 pm