Julia Goerges is playing the best tennis of her life. The 22-year-old German recently won her second career title, upsetting 2010 French Open finalist Sam Stosur and world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki to hoist the Stuttgart trophy. The following week, she delivered another stinging blow to Wozniacki en route to reaching the semifinals in Madrid.
Goerges' recent successes brought her a career milestone: a top-20 ranking. She's currently 18th in the world.
All that said, Goerges discounted herself from consideration when asked for the names of those who could win this year's French Open.
"For sure, not mine," she said, laughing. "I don't think I'm a player who can win because I never reached the third round before, here. I don't see myself as a favorite and with any chance of winning. I think there's quite a lot of girls who have a chance of winning: Wozniacki, [Kim] Clijsters, Stosur and [Petra] Kvitova."
On Wednesday, Goerges mounted an impressive comeback against Lucie Safarova to earn a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 second-round win. Goerges might not be ready to win the French Open, but she's thrilled with her achievements this season.
"I wanted to be top-32 so I could be seeded in all the Grand Slams this year," she said. "So I'll have to get a new goal."
There is something of a German revival afoot. In addition to Goerges, Andrea Petkovic moved from 32nd to 12th in the world this year. Petkovic plays her second-round match against Lucie Hradecka on Thursday.
"It's nice getting the tennis back in Germany," Goerges said. "We're getting better and better, and are playing good matches against good players."
Goerges admitted it was difficult to follow in the footsteps of Steffi Graf, a 22-time Grand Slam champion who put women's tennis on the map in Germany.
"We heard it a lot of the time, and it was not always easy for us always hearing Steffi Graf," she said.
Goerges, who idolized Martina Hingis growing up, will meet Graf for the first time next month. They will play an exhibition match at the Halle, Germany, men's tournament.
An artistic approach
Bethanie Mattek-Sands wears tube socks to her knees and black under-eye stickers to cut glare, and considers her tattoos an artistic statement.
On her right biceps she has a floral motif, complete with her favorite lilies. That tattoo remains a work in progress.
"[It's] not finished," the American said after her 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round win over Varvara Lepchenko. "It's going to be more filled in -- I'm saying by the U.S. Open."
On her right forearm, Mattek-Sands has some bees, a design commemorating her childhood nickname, Killer Bee.
Her favorite body art, however, is much less noticeable: "I have my husband's name on my ring finger. I don't play with a wedding ring, so that's a substitute."
Next up, Mattek-Sands is scheduled to have Lou Molloy, the tattoo artist who created David Beckham's sleeves, work his body-art magic while she's in England for Wimbledon.
"I'm curious to see what he likes to do," Mattek-Sands said of Molloy. "I think each tattoo artist kind of specializes in something, whether it's faces or flowers. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I have some ideas."