Before her third visit to Auckland, Julia Goerges would like to make one thing clear. She is not 'gorgeous'. She will turn plenty of heads at the ASB Classic this summer - but she hopes it will be because of her tennis.
The German star, who reached a career high ranking of 16 in the world this year, continues to attract plenty of attention from legions of fans.
Of course it doesn't help that her surname can sound similar to 'gorgeous' and English speakers tend to, sometimes deliberately, use that version.
It happened in Auckland last summer, among spectators, media and commentators, and reached its nadir at Wimbledon this year.
Already accustomed to hearing greetings of "hello, Gorgeous" from Londoners as she walked around the All England club, the final straw came when an umpire started referring to her as Julia Gorgeous during her second round win at SW19 this year.
The English umpire continually struggled with her surname, which should be pronounced 'Gur-ges'(with a 'hard' g sound as in gurgle) and she eventually approached - and corrected - the red-faced official.
"Sometimes you do get sick of it," Goerges told the Herald on Sunday from Germany. "It was getting a bit distracting, so I walked over to tell him how to say my name. I guess the fans were a bit surprised. It's not too much, I think, for umpires to get this right. But afterwards the media did make a big deal."
Of course the problem for the 22-year-old is that she is no plain jane; many fans see her as easy on the eye and draw comparisons with Croatian glamour queen Ana Ivanovic.
Indeed, a Google search for 'Julia Goerges tennis' offers 1.2 million options, whereas 'Julia Goerges hot' brings up 1.4 million hits.
Like many female players, she is also uber fashionable, wearing an array of outfits from the Nike Maria Sharapova collection but says it is all about game, not glitz.
"I don't like it when people focus on how you look," says Goerges. "I don't think it is important how you look on court. If you look good, it doesn't help you to win matches. Of course I look in the mirror every morning before I go out but I am not the kind of girl that tries to make myself more glamorous. I want to show how good I can be at tennis."
In terms of tennis, Goerges has given a great exhibition of her potential over this past season. Starting the year ranked 40 in the world, she rose as high as 16 and ended at 21.
The highlight came in Stuttgart, where she became the first German since 1994 to win the tournament, beating Sam Stosur and world No1 Caroline Wozniacki on the way. She would beat Wozniacki again in Madrid, before losing to world No4 Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. She collected her first Fed Cup wins for Germany and finished the year with another semifinal appearance in Luxembourg.
"It was definitely the best year I have ever had in my career," says Goerges. "It's great that my ranking is going up but for me the most important thing is that my game is improving.
"My whole game, fitness, strategy - you can say my game is getting together. That's what counts for me and then the points and rankings come after that. It's nice to have a good number by your name but I think the constant improvement is more important come the end of your career."
Her achievements, and those of compatriots Andrea Petkovic (No10) and Sabine Lisicki (No15), have allowed them to step, ever so slightly, out of the shadow of Steffi Graf, arguably the greatest female player ever.
"We are beginning to make our mark," says Goerges. "The public and the media always talk about Steffi and her 22 grand slams and the comparison was hard. No one will ever get close to that. But now we are having some success and the media is starting to respect that."
A native of Bad Oldesloe, a town of around 20,000 people in northern Germany, Goerges says she always wanted to be a professional tennis player and decided definitively on the path as a 14-year-old, after her coach assured her she would be good enough. With her parents' support, she left school at the end of her tenth year and turned pro in 2005. She won her first Grand Slam match at Wimbledon in 2008 (stopped in the next round by Marina Erakovic) and has two WTA and six ITF titles to her credit.
After a three-week holiday in November, time at a wellness spa when she didn't touch a racquet, Goerges is back in full training and preparation for the 2012 season. She leaves Europe for Dubai today, where she will train for the next few weeks, hoping to replicate the intense summer heat of Melbourne.
It will be Goerges' third bow at the ASB Classic, having lost to the eventual champion (Yanina Wickmayer, first round 2010; Greta Arn, semifinal 2011) on both previous visits.
She describes the locals as "friendly and calm" and enjoys the well organised nature of the tournament and little slices of Europe that Auckland can offer.
"It feels a bit like home, even though you are so far away," says Goerges, "You can be in a supermarket and I was always surprised when suddenly people would start speaking German."