Revivals Of 2014: Andrea Petkovic
Published April 16, 2014 12:14
Less is more. The modernist maxim is not one that always holds much weight in the 21st century world of bigger, stronger and faster tennis players. However, for Andrea Petkovic, the tapering down of her previously arduous training regimen has proved crucial in keeping her injury concerns at bay and getting her career back on track.
For Petkovic, much of the past few years on tour have been a hard slog as two serious injuries precipitated a fall from the heady heights of No.9 in the rankings all the way down to the darkest depths of the Top 200.
"It's a different feeling now. In the beginning, when I won my first title, I remember I was just overwhelmed by everything, and I couldn't believe what was happening to me," Petkovic said. "And now I'm just much more grateful and I can appreciate it much more than before.
"I know what I went through in the past years, and I know what I worked for, and it's very rewarding now, and I just feel very happy."
Although the German, currently ranked No.28, still has a little way to go to reclaim her pre-injury Top 10 status, she is happy just to be enjoying her tennis again.
"I just wanted to get back to why I started playing tennis, because I had fun playing it and because I love the sport, and I think it's the most amazing sport out there," she added. "Everybody has their own opinion, obviously, but for me it's one of the most beautiful sports out there, and I just needed to remind myself why I started in the beginning, because it was fun, and just getting back to playing tennis and not trying to win matches all the time.
"That's obviously a reason why I play, but it's not the reason why I play, and I just needed to remind myself."
The 26-year-old endured several very low moments during her journey back up the rankings and at one point, on the back of a particularly dispiriting run of results, even contemplated packing it all in.
Out of the Top 100 and relegated to playing qualifiers, the nadir came less than a year ago, at the French Open, when she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to Zhou Yi-Miao in qualifying.
"I had a lot of low points, but I think the lowest, lowest, low point was last year at the French Open when I lost second round qualies against a girl that was ranked maybe No.160, and I played awful, and that's when I wanted to stop.
"Although I also wanted to stop after I lost the match against Giorgi in Indian Wells, so I had a lot of these moments where I wanted to stop playing, but somehow I always kept doing what I did, and I kept not believing, but wanting it, I guess. I didn't believe it at all in certain moments, but I kept wanting it, and that's why I kept working, and I'm very thankful that it paid off in the end."
Soon after this crisis of confidence, though, the tide began to turn. Runner-up finishes at Nürnberg and Washington signaled a return to form and helped her finish 2013 inside the Top 50 again.
Her spell on the sidelines also allowed Petkovic to fine-tune a few technical aspects of her game, whilst also revamping her approach to training.
"I think I got technically much better after my injuries. You always have to see the good and the bad somehow, and the good thing about my injuries was that I knew I couldn't only rely on my fitness after all these injuries, because I wasn't able to practice as much as I used to before, so I needed to develop technically.
"I needed to improve my serve. And I needed to have more variety if I wanted to be able to get back to where I was. I couldn't be relying only on my fitness anymore. And so I made these changes, and I changed coaches, and I worked on it very hard and tried to become more of a tennis player and not only a tennis worker.
"There's still a long way to go for me, and I still have a lot of potential to improve it, but I think I'm on the right track."