Andrea Petkovic: Brief Flirt with Retirement After French Open Loss; Overcoming Fear of Injury

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Andrea Petkovic during press conference in Nürnberg, Germany on Monday

(June 10, 2013) After failing to qualify for this year’s French Open, former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic admitted to briefly contemplating retirement after her loss in Paris.

“I sat on the bench next to my coach and said, ‘I quit,’” stated the 25-year-old in Nürnberg on Monday.

In the summer of 2011, Petkovic broke into the top 10 for the first time and her career finally seemed to be on track after injuries had plagued her earlier in her life. But unfortunately for the German, the success once again halted there.

Petkovic was forced to miss much of the first half of the 2012 season with a back injury, and then in just her second match back, she suffered a horrible ankle injury in Stuttgart in April. After three-and-a-half months of rehabilitation, Petkovic returned and played seven tournaments to end the season. Then at the Hopman Cup exhibition at the end of December, she suffered a meniscus tear in her right knee which kept her off the tour for another two months.

After scraping for points and wild cards since her ranking had taken a plunge, Petkovic’s optimistic attitude took her to the third round of both Miami and Charleston this year. But the progress ceased again as she withdrew from Charleston with a calf strain, admitting to “disappointment and anger” at the situation, and then lost in the first round of Stuttgart and the first round of qualifying in Madrid.

She then went on to lose in the second round of qualifying at the French Open to China’s Yi-Miao Zhou in three close sets, which caused her to briefly contemplate retirement.

Luckily for Petkovic, her long-time coach, Petar Popovic didn’t take her seriously.

“He just laughed and a few days later [I] picked up my racquet again,” commented the German.

On Sunday, Petkovic won the ITF tournament in Marseille without dropping a set against her higher-ranked opponents, even dishing out a double bagel to young Puerto Rican Monica Puig in the semifinals.

“I am very relieved that my body has been able to survive those five matches in a row,” said Petkovic of her results in Marseille. “Everything has held up, even the knee. I have refueled myself with a lot of confidence, especially in my body. I can say that I have overcome the fear of injuring myself again. The fact is that I feel that I am now moving again as in my best moments.”

Petkovic takes on Sofia Arvidsson in the first round of Nürnberg, and if she wins, will take on compatriot Julia Goerges in the next round.

The 24-year-old Goerges has overcome her own share of injuries, most recently the wrist problem that continued into her first round loss at the French Open. But there is good news on the horizon.

“The wrist is stable,” Goerges said before her first round match against Romanian Alexandra Cadantu. “I’m on a good path. It’s almost strange to be able to hit the ball normal again, without having any pain.”

Photos from Monday’s WTA Nürnberg joint pre-tournament press conference with Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic by Rick Gleijm for Tennis Grandstand. Stay tuned all week for daily player and match galleries.

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