BAD GASTEIN, Austria - For tennis players, sweating is an occupational hazard. However, usually it's confined to their time on the court. Not so in the case of Andrea Petkovic, who is a regular - albeit a reluctant one - in the sauna, which she uses to help avert the injuries that have plagued her in recent years.
How often do you take a sauna?
AP: I don't like it very much, so I go only for recovery purposes - probably three or four times a month.
What's the hottest you've ever felt on court?
AP: This year at the Australian Open it was 44°C. It was so bad, because it was a dry heat and I was feeling like the skin of my face would be burning off!
A year ago, you were having a hard time due to injuries and a drop down the rankings. Did you ever consider giving up?
AP: When I lost at the French Open in the second round of qualifiers, I honestly considered quitting. I stopped enjoying the game, not because I had lost, but because I put too much pressure on myself to get back to where I used to be. I was totally unsatisfied and was thinking that it doesn't make sense anymore.
Is Roger Federer the best tennis player of all time?
AP: It's hard to answer that question, because it's hard to define what 'the best player of all time' means? I can only say that since I've been playing tennis, I have never seen anyone playing so naturally like Roger does. It's like art.
You are now No.20 in the world. When will you start to trouble current No.1 Serena Williams?
AP: I've already beaten a reigning No.1 [Caroline Wozniacki]. Putting aside whether I can beat her - I think I can cause problems for Serena on the court. When will I be No.1 in the world? It's one of my goals, but I'd rather win a Grand Slam first. I'm in the Top 20 now, and I want to be Top 15 by the end of the year. But I don't think further than that, otherwise I'll start to put too much pressure on myself again.
Apart from the sauna, how do you relax?
AP: I meditate. Every day. If there's enough time, I do it for 25 to 40 minutes. And I also read.
Final question: if you could choose three people to share a sauna with, who would they be?
AP: Fran Lenowitz. She's a writer from New York and she's very funny and intelligent. Next, Marina Abramovic, who's a performance actor. Last but not least, I'd have Penelope Cruz. For me, she's the most beautiful woman in the world and I love her films. Besides that, I would be able to practice my Spanish.