Andrea Petkovic Dishes on Her Most Embarrassing Moment, Her Greatest Strength and Her “Other Big Love”

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Andrea Petkovic during her win over Julia Goerges in Nurnberg on Wednesday.

(June 12, 2013) Possessing one of the most charming and entertaining personalities in professional tennis, former world No. 9 Andrea Petkovic is back on her way up. [Wednesday gallery at bottom]

Riddled with injuries during her career, she admitted earlier this week that she briefly contemplated retirement after a tough loss during the French Open qualifying rounds. Her coach lovingly laughed it off, and the 25-year-old German followed up her heartbreak by winning the following tournament in Marseille, en route not dropping a set.

With a wild card entry into this week’s WTA event in Nurnberg, Petkovic took out countrywoman and long-time friend Julia Goerges on Wednesday, and will return to the top 100 for the first time since the fall of 2012. The last time previously that Petkovic was outside the top 100 was in June 2009, where a similar run in Marseille again launched her back into the top 100. It was also announced today that Petkovic has been granted a main draw wild card for this month’s Wimbledon Championships.

After her win over Goerges in Nurnberg, Petkovic sat down to dish on her funniest fan encounter, most embarrassing moment involving a certain tennis legend, and what she would be doing if she weren’t a tennis player. Learn more about the always smiling “Petko” below!

What is your most memorable tennis moment?
My most memorable tennis moment is probably the first time I played quarterfinals in a Grand Slam (at the 2011 Australian Open). I beat [Maria] Sharapova in the fourth round, and it was a really really good match of mine. She didn’t play her best definitely, but I played really well.

How did you first start playing tennis, or what is your earliest tennis memory?
My dad is a tennis coach, so he brought me to tennis. My earliest tennis memory is at the club where I played. There was also field hockey there and all the cool girls were playing hockey, and I was hitting balls against the wall with my tennis racket. (Laughs)

What is your greatest strength?
I think my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness, as it is often in life. Because I am very ambitious, people sometimes say I’m over ambitious. I’m never satisfied with the way I play, with the way I win matches. I always want more, which is really good for tennis. But sometimes it can also be very bad for my body, as everybody could see with my injuries. I think I learned from it, but I still try to keep this ambitious (attitude).

What is the strangest or funniest encounter you have had with a fan?
Oh, I just had a really nice encounter! There were actually three or four fans and they all dressed up as me. (Laughs) They had these wigs and it was now in Paris. They gave me a book where they had all the pictures they collected of me, I think, over the last three or four years. And they called themselves the “crazy-razzis” because I’m Petkorazzi. They were really nice girls.

What is your most embarrassing tennis moment?
There are so many! Well, I think the most embarrassing is definitely when I played against [Vera] Zvonareva (in the fourth round) at the 2010 US Open night session on Arthur Ashe stadium. And before my warm-up, John McEnroe came to me and he was like, “Good luck, Petko.” I was so nervous. He said to me, “I’m going to be commentating on your match.” I was so nervous that I lost 6-1, 6-2. I didn’t put in one ball! I was just thinking about John McEnroe during the entire time of the match!

If you were hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?
I would definitely invite Gael Monfils, Novak Djokovic because he’s really funny, and Ana Ivanovic for the beauty.

If you were not a pro tennis player, what would you be doing?
That’s a good question. Well, I studied literature and philosophy and also had some interest in journalism, so maybe I would have gone to journalism school. But there was a big chance I could have studied law as I was also very interested in law.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would definitely learn to draw because I think I’m a big big fan of art and I always love to go to museums and galleries. I picture myself in a nice garden with the sun, doing expressionist art. But unfortunately, I cannot draw at all, so I would love to be able to draw.

What is the one thing that scares you?
After my injuries, I definitely have to say, more injuries because it was the toughest time in my life. I love tennis so much and it was just taken away from me. That was one of the most bitter memories in my life, so I’m definitely afraid of injuries.

What are two things you could not live without?
Definitely, definitely my family is one because I’m very close to my family, especially my sister. And on the other hand, I couldn’t live without books because they are my “other life” that I live. I really like to read and I always carry three or four books around with me. That’s my other big love.

What is the most extravagant thing you ever bought with your tournament prize money?
I’m not a big buyer of designer (things) but I really like the Helmut Lang jacket. And after I played the quarters at the US Open, I bought it, and it was quite expensive – I won’t tell the price! But I’m still happy with it, although I never wear it because I don’t it to be dirty! (Laughs)

What are your goals for the year in terms of progress or ranking?
After my injuries, I really don’t have any goals. I just take it day by day, and I’m so happy to be back on court and just be playing. I’m just trying to find my old strength again and feeling good on court, and that’s all!

Wednesday match play photos by Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm.

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