Laura Siegemund said that she was filled with mixed emotions after capturing the US Open women’s doubles crown with Russia’s Vera Zvonareva on Friday, the day of her aunt’s funeral.
Siegemund’s aunt, Helga, the twin sister of her mother, died from cancer nearly three weeks ago while the German was in New York City ahead of the tournament.
“Today was her funeral. My parents came from that to watch the match. They missed the first couple games because of that,” Siegemund, 32, told reporters.
“There were a lot of things going on in my head,” Siegemund added. “I mean, she’s 65. That was no age [to go]. My cousin is my age. I cannot imagine what’s going on in her head right now.”
During the trophy presentation following Siegemund and Zvonareva’s 6-4, 6-4 win over third seeds Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan, the German pointed upward and blew a kiss to the sky.
“Some things are more important than career. When it comes to family and you cannot be there in the last moments at a funeral, that’s hard,” Siegemund added.
Siegemund said that her aunt’s death had put her in a difficult position and while she wanted to be with her family, she did not want to leave New York City midway through the tournament.
“I feel this is one of the biggest sacrifices because I don’t want to just leave the tournament and say: ‘I’m going home because this is more important. It’s my job to be here,’” she added. “It was really hard.”
Siegemund said that she missed receiving a congratulatory text from Helga after securing her first Grand Slam doubles title.
“She always wrote me nice texts. She would have texted me something for sure. I just feel like I know she’s watching and I wanted to say something,” she said.
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