Petkovic: This Chapter Isn't Over
Published March 20, 2013 12:00
MIAMI, FL, USA - Andrea Petkovic is one of the most charismatic players on the WTA, but she might also be one of the unluckiest - having finished 2011 in the Top 10, back and ankle injuries totally derailed her progress in 2012, and she missed the first few months of 2013 with a knee injury. But the German returned to action at Indian Wells and on Tuesday won her opening match in Miami.
Petkovic's latest comeback began as a wildcard into the qualifying of Indian Wells, winning her first match before losing the second; but as a main draw wildcard into Miami she got back to her winning ways, needing just 57 minutes to make it past Bojana Jovanovski in the first round, 63 61.
Her solid play - which included losing just seven points in eight service games - isn't too much of a surprise, though, given how well she was practicing the weeks leading up to her comeback. But there's something different about Petkovic this time - a new, more relaxed attitude about everything.
"I've changed," Petkovic said. "My coach actually laughs at me when I tell him I'm a changed person, but it's true. I don't get frustrated on the court anymore. I'm just happy to be back. I'm really enjoying every moment of it. I don't know how long it'll hold up like this - let's talk again in two months!
"But seriously, in my other comebacks I was really so intense and expecting myself to do great and be at the same level as before, but this time I came back with no expectations. A lot of people have approached me and told me they didn't think I would come back again, especially the people who know me, because I have so many other interests and could do other things I'd have a lot of fun with.
"But I felt deep inside this chapter isn't over."
The recovery from the knee injury - which she suffered just before the Australian Open - was a bit easier than some of her other recoveries. "After seven days I could already start going on the bicycle again, so I didn't really lose a lot of substance this time," she said. "My state of mind the whole time helped my healing process. I've been feeling really good and don't want to jinx anything!"
And once known as one of the hardest workers on the tour, Petkovic is also easing up on something else a little bit - her practice time. Her new focus may be on practicing smarter, however.
"I'm not as intense anymore. I changed my practice schedule. I used to gain a lot of confidence from the number of hours I spent on the court - if I didn't feel totally exhausted afterwards, I felt like it wasn't a good practice day. I had to change that because I was destroying my body - each injury was a sign, and each time I'd change a little bit, but I was never courageous enough to change something the whole way. Now I'm much more focused on quality of practices and not hours on the court.
"I made this decision with my coach, and adidas helped me as well - I was in their training camp, with Gil Reyes, Andre and Steffi, and they told me I could gain confidence from other stuff, not just hours on the court. So to play tennis for four or five more years, this is what I needed to change.
"Now I'm looking for better quality in practice. I try to hit and move to every ball as perfectly as I can, but I will let some balls go by. You can't have 100% intensity in every single hour of practice.
"I feel like something gave me another chance to approach my career as a new person and player."
Petkovic has won two of her first three matches back, but her primary focus isn't on winning, it's more on finding her game - hence why she asked for a wildcard into the qualies of Indian Wells.
"I just wanted to have matches," she said. "I know the seeds all have byes at Indian Wells so I would have been okay in the main draw too, but I wanted to have matches in the qualies. It went well but it could also have been the worst match in the history of matches - but I wanted to have them.
"I'm really happy these tournaments gave me these wildcards. I really want to thank them."
And what's coming for the former World No.9?
"Going forward I really have no expectations," she said. "I just want to keep my approach of just enjoying every moment and not getting frustrated - I know all of the things that can frustrate a player, like a really windy day or something, and it costs a lot less energy to play in my new state of mind. That is my biggest wish for the next tournaments coming up and we'll see how it all works out.
"I know I cannot be as consistent as I was before, and I know I won't be as intense as I was before, but I'm really going to try to approach every match positively and just enjoy it all."