Petkovic Back In The Spotlight
Published October 07, 2013 12:02
For Andrea Petkovic, the progress back to the top after her injury-ravaged 2012 season has been steady rather than spectacular.
Having slowly worked her way back up the rankings, last week, Petkovic gave the first indication that she was approaching the form that once made her a Top 10 fixture when she defeated World No.2 Victoria Azarenka in Beijing.
This was followed by a gritty win over two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, a sequence of results that has installed a renewed sense of belief in the popular German.
"I think this is the first tournament that I've been able to really keep up my intensity and keep up my focus - I think I played two good matches," Petkovic said after her win over Kuznetsova. "For me just personally it's really important to see that I can still beat the players on the top level, two past Grand Slam champions.
"It's just a big boost for my confidence, no matter what happens now in the future. So I've been really satisfied with my game here."
Two years ago, Petkovic finished runner-up in the Chinese capital, before a horrible run of injuries, starting with a spinal stress fracture at the start of 2012, precipitated a tumble down the rankings. Eventually she bottomed out at No.192, before starting the difficult journey back.
Her status as a former World No.9 brought with it the odd wildcard, but for the most part, Petkovic climbed up the tennis ladder the hard way, playing qualifiers, lower-level WTA events and on the ITF Circuit.
"It's been really tough, you know, because I was injured for a year and a half almost, three major injuries, two surgeries," she said. "It's been really tough for me to come back, mainly because I thought that the injury part was the worst part and I'm going to be fine as soon as I step back on the court."
However, rediscovering her former glories proved to be more difficult than she ever could have anticipated. "The hardest part was when I came back on court and I didn't feel the ball anymore, I didn't move as well anymore, I had trouble with my timing and with concentration.
"I think that was for me the most frustrating part, trying to get my level back. Because I was used to myself being really consistent and playing my game, and that was just gone after a year and a half off.
"I was doubting myself and I didn't really want to continue playing like this."
Crucial to her improved performances in Beijing was Petkovic's movement, although much to the disappointment of her army of Chinese followers, the fancy footwork did not continue after the match.
"I don't do the dance anymore. After my injuries I never really picked it up again - I guess I'm an adult now," she said when asked about the potential reprisal of her once-trademark Petko dance. "Well, maybe if I get really, really far I'll do another dance. So you'll have to keep cheering for me, I guess!"