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Another One Bites The Dust: German Tennis Star Julia Goerges The Latest Of An Iconic WTA Generation To Retire

By: Thomas Cluck

It was supposed to be 2016, then 2020, and then the coronavirus had other plans. But after all, despite no Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this year that many stars had planned for, the retirements have still come. It’s 2020, what hasn’t been a casualty?

Another one of the staple top players of a long-time, iconic generation on the WTA tour has retired this year as 31 year-old German Julia Goerges announced she’d be calling it a career and hanging up her racquet on Wednesday. Goerges, just the latest women’s tennis star to retire this year after 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki went out in Melbourne in January and career Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova announced her retirement in February, posted on Instagram, saying “Dear Tennis, I am writing to you, because I am ready to say ‘Goodbye’”. 

Goerges continued, writing “I always knew how I would feel when it is time to say goodbye to you, and that moment has arrived. I am ready to close the tennis chapter of my life and open a new one, which I am really excited about.”

“You have given me so many different types of emotions throughout our journey and I am very thankful for everything you have shown and taught me,” explained the German. “I learnt how to deal with the toughest losses but also enjoy the most amazing wins of my career.”

Julia Goerges of Germany in action against Serena Williams of the USA during their third round match at the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 06 July 2019.

Goerges will leave tennis as a former top ten player, reaching a career high ranking of number nine in the world in 2018 during a late-career resurgence that saw the German capture five of her seven total WTA singles titles between 2017 and 2019. During that timespan, Goerges made the most famous run of her career to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2018, her only Grand Slam semifinal and her best appearance at a major, falling to seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams at that stage. 

Some of Goerges’ best results included her breakout moment in 2011, winning an emotional title at home at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. She made her return to the winners’ circle over six years later hoisting another WTA Premier trophy at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow in a tight final win over home favorite Daria Kasatkina before winning possibly the biggest title of her career at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. The German followed that up with an ASB Classic crown in Auckland a couple months later at the start of 2018, one of her favorite tournaments on tour, and ending the season with a win in Luxembourg before defending her crown once again in New Zealand to start 2019, her final career title on tour.

Goerges’ results backslid a bit towards the end of 2019 and into an abbreviated 2020 season after COVID-19 halted much of the global professional tennis tours. The German’s final match ended up being a second-round loss at the French Open to another countrywoman, Laura Siegemund, in three sets, typical Goerges fashion. 

Julia Goerges of Germany reacts as she plays Laura Siegemund of Germany during their women’s second round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 01 October 2020.

The hard-working, tactile German was known for her big serve and equally powerful, crazy, loopy forehand and her smarts and intelligence on and off the court. “Chancellor Gools” as she was dubbed in tennis fan circles, was beloved by her fellow players and people on tour, always known as a consummate professional, one of the few adults in the room in tennis sometimes. 

Goerges will be the first of an incredible generation of German women’s tennis stars to leave the sport, as her country women Angelique Kerber, Sabine Lisicki, and Andrea Petkovic have aged in the sport alongside her. Goerges was part of their Fed Cup finalist efforts in 2014, falling in Prague to the Czech Republic’s dynasty at the time behind Petra Kvitova. 

On a personal note, I will miss Chancellor Gools’ quirky serve and forehand, her omnipresent smile and joy, and the hard work and grit she brought to every match that propelled her to reach career-best results later in her career and make more of her dreams come true. As a young, giddy tennis fan at the time, she was one of the first players to give me an autograph and as I grew older, always someone I circled on my Order of Play to go watch at a tournament.

Julia Goerges of Germany reacts after defeating Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during their match on the sixth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 31 August 2019.

Every draw in the future will be a bit lacking without Goerges and a generation of WTA stars I grew up watching are slowly leaving the sport, making way for the young stars of tennis to continue to plant their flag at the top of the sport. We’ll miss Gools, we wish her well. Bravo.