Some statistics are encouraging, some are daunting, and others show it one way or the other.

An example of double-edged swords can be seen by looking at the list of the oldest players at the most important clay-court tournament of the year in Paris.

Thomas Klemm

sports editor.

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On the one hand it seems encouraging that some women can still play at the highest level in the autumn of their professional career.

On the other hand, from a German perspective, it is sobering that three of the four oldest participants in Roland Garros come from Germany.

Behind the almost 37-year-old Estonian Kaia Kanepi are Tatjana Maria (turns 35 in August), Andrea Petkovic (turns 35 in September) and Angelique Kerber (celebrates her 34th birthday in January).

As much as it is worthy of all honor that the three mid-thirties from Bad Saulgau, Darmstadt and Kiel can easily keep up in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament: One could also be worried about the future of German women's tennis.

Especially since Sabine Lisicki (also soon to be 33) and Laura Siegemund (recently turned 34), who are fighting back after long injury breaks, have also turned into the final career curve.

There is no denying that the best years in German women's tennis are over.

It's been a while since Kerber collected three Grand Slam titles, Lisicki was in the final of Wimbledon, Petkovic reached the semifinals in Paris, Siegemund won the US Open in doubles and all together with Julia Görges (33 years old, already in the retirement) caused excitement as a Fed Cup team.

However, the best players of their generation are still good for success on the WTA tour, as Petkovic proved last fall in Cluj-Napoca and Maria and Kerber in Bogotá and Strasbourg in the past few weeks.

The interim balance of the first days in Paris looks correspondingly mixed: Siegemund failed in the qualification, Maria in the first round.

Petkovic and Kerber, who moved into the second round one after the other, provided the ray of hope on the cloudy Monday.

Petovic won 6-4 and 6-2 against French Oceane Dodin.

"I'm glad that at my age I can still surprise or annoy the girls," said the Darmstadt resident.

However, her body is increasingly thwarting her plans.

Because it keeps tweaking here and there, "it's mentally difficult to adjust plans and not work as hard as usual," said the world number 65.

Angelique Kerber defeated Magdalena Frech from Poland 2:6, 6:3, 7:5 after two and a half hours of play and after defending against two match points.

Players in their late twenties are missing

The big question is who should do it when at some point Petkovic only writes books or moderates on television, Kerber takes over the management of the Bad Homburg lawn tournament and Maria takes even more time for her two children.

What's missing are players in their mid to late twenties who can provide a smooth transition to the next generation of teenagers and young twenty-somethings.

Annika Beck and Carina Witthöft, once promising talents, now have other things in mind than chasing a yellow felt ball day after day.

Anna-Lena Friedsam is repeatedly thrown back by injuries.

So the even younger ladies have to go;

those that the German Tennis Association brings together in the Porsche Talent Team.

Above all, 21-year-old Jule Niemeier, who indicated on her Grand Slam debut in Paris that greater things could be expected of her.

Although she lost to the American Sloane Stephens at the start.

But the three-set defeat against the US Open winner from 2017 was more due to Niemeier's thigh injury than to the different performance.

"The match showed me that I have the level to beat such players," said Dortmund, who recently made it into the top hundred in the world.

In addition to Niemeier, hopes rest on Eva Lys (20) and Nastasja Schunk (18), who will make their Grand Slam debut this Tuesday against Wimbledon and French Open winner Simona Halep.

"We have three girls who can cause a sensation in the future," says Petkovic.

Niemeier is not only blessed with a respectable percussion repertoire, but also with self-confidence.

After her first Grand Slam match, she spoke of wanting to reach the second week of the tournament in the future.

As the successor to Kerber & Co. and frontwoman of the young wild ones, she feels "no jitters," says Niemeier: For me it's something positive to be associated with it." Maybe young Germans will appear in the tennis hit lists again in the future ladies up.

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