Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was a welcomed win for you, wasn’t it?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Yeah, I was very happy with the way I played. I usually loathe playing her (smiling). I don’t have the greatest head-to-head against her, and I just struggle with or used to struggle with these unpredictable players.
I have worked on a lot in the offseason and I have been playing really well in the past couple of months in practice. I just wasn’t able to transfer it into the matches.
I think today was one of the first matches where everything came together, and what I really feel like is I’m getting back to the level that I had in 2011.
Q. You said you worked hard at the end of last season. At the end of last season you went through what we might term a midcareer crisis?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: A midlife crisis (smiling), yeah.
Q. Are you over that?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: I am over that. I’m definitely over, and I’m so thrilled that I made the decision to keep playing. I was just — just a midlife crisis. I think now that I look back, I feel — maybe “ashamed” is too harsh of a word, because I’m so happy with my life right now. I really — I can’t understand what I have been going through now because it’s been — it has been in the past, but at that moment apparently I was just not very happy with my performances on court and off court.
A lot of things in my private life coming together, so now I’m just heading in the right direction again. I think maybe that crisis actually made me work harder in the offseason because I really wanted sort of to make up for the lost time.
Q. It sounded at the time you felt you were wasting your time playing tennis, that there were better things to do with your life?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Uh-huh. Well, I think it’s just a thing of growing up. I tried to evaluate it in that way. I think it’s just a thing of growing up. When you’re 20, 21, 22, you just feel like all the doors are still open. You can still be a surgeon, you can still be a lawyer, you can still be an actress, you can be whatever you wish. Once you get older, I’m 28 now, you feel — I think you realize that certain doors are closing, and there are certain paths in life that you can’t go back to.
One of these things was maybe a normal student life for me or things that I would like to study that I would like to know more about. And I think all these things combined just led to a midlife crisis, but I’m glad I’m over it because I’m very happy with everything I have. I know I’m very blessed. I’m just so grateful that I’m able to lead this life that I’m leading.
Q. What did you do to get through it? What do you think made the difference? Was it conversations with people or just talking to yourself, or…
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Yeah, I think just being to the people that are closest to me that know me the best and just talking through it, and then having a lot of conversation with people that are older and that have gone through the same things.
I also read a lot of biographies especially about people that were struggling around 27, 28, and watching a lot of biopics and movies. I could just identify myself with a lot of these people, and I think that helped me to get through it and to just see it really as a crisis and not as a matter of questioning my whole path that I chose in playing tennis, because I did choose it myself. It wasn’t forced upon me.
I think that was just a thing for me to realize and to recognize it as what it was, a crisis, and not, as I said, a questioning of why I’m here.
Q. Any individuals in particular that you can share that perhaps you said you could relate to?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Well, I mentioned it in German TV already and they looked at me like a bus. Actually Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, he actually quit playing guitar when he was 28 exactly for a year before he came back and became a huge star, obviously.
For me, that was maybe not the thing that I could identify most with but that made me realize most that it was just a crisis, because if you don’t want to be a rock star, what else in life do you want to be? So I figured if he’s going through a crisis, it’s okay for me to go through a crisis as a tennis player (smiling).
Q. Do you feel there was a danger that you would look back and maybe feel regret?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: I felt like that in the end of last year and I think that’s what got me into this misery that I put myself into. Now I realize that it was just myself and nobody else.
But now I don’t feel like it anymore, because I just realize how much I love tennis and how much I love being on tour and playing and getting in shape and the competition, and everything was just a drag last year. So that has led me to all these questions last year.
Q. Moving forward, is there perhaps more thought from you that you will try to do more alongside tennis or would you prefer to, no, let’s keep it just tennis now and then maybe later…
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Well, what has helped me also is that I’m just preparing a few things for after my career, you know. I get really excited about them, and I always have my notepad with me. When I have ideas, I scribble them down.
I’m just trying to be more creative and do stuff off court, as well, especially with my ideas and my brain and not just think about and groom about tennis all day long.
So, yeah, I think that has helped me. And also, you know, sometimes when you’re in such a down, you appreciate much more of what you have now. So now that I’m back and in shape again and playing well, I have nothing to regret and nothing to pity myself anymore.
Q. What stuff? You said you write stuff down.
ANDREA PETKOVIC: Oh, it’s very original. I cannot talk about it now. Some people might steal my ideas. (Laughter.)
Q. You said there were options for you and at the end of the year and now. You didn’t mention politics. A couple years ago you said you liked politics. Is that gone?
ANDREA PETKOVIC: I think that was before I actually knew who I was and before I realized that I’m not a diplomatic person at all. Then I figured, well, Andrea, if you’re not diplomatic, maybe politics isn’t the right path for you.
I wouldn’t last for more than a year in Germany, and I don’t believe I would make it anywhere else (smiling).
Q. Just to go to the boring stuff for a second, your next round is either against Bencic or JJ. So how do you look ahead to that? And also Bencic is in the top 10 for the first time. Talk about that.
ANDREA PETKOVIC: We played Belinda in Fed Cup. She did a tremendous job. She really played so well the whole weekend. She really won all three ties more or less. I mean, with Martina, obviously it was a great matchup for doubles.
She played so well against me and played so well against Angie, and Angie was on a tremendous run before that. It was just very impressive with how cool she was just being 18 years old, so she really deserves a place in top 10.
I’m excited if I play her to play her here because we played on a super fast court in Leipzig, which is not my favorite one. So here it’s quite quick, as well, but you can put a little spin, you can change up the paces. So I would like to see how it goes here.
And JJ, you know, we are old friends. We’ve known each other very well. We actually practiced here on center court a few days back. We will see how that goes.
Q. I haven’t spoken to you since Angie won.
ANDREA PETKOVIC: That’s true.
Q. So what was your reaction? You were one of the people I thought of, like, I’m wondering what Andrea is thinking.
ANDREA PETKOVIC: I almost died. It was so stressful. My sister, we watched it together at my house. In the beginning we were super relaxed. I had such a good feeling she was gonna win.
I saw Serena, and you can tell early on in a match with Serena if she’s on fire or struggling. I saw Angie’s face because I know her so well, so I knew she was in her zone. I had such a good feeling.
Then in the third set, everything got really — well, just very exciting. When it was 5-4 and Angie — was she serving? Serena was serving. It was 5-4. And my sister was like, If it’s 5-All, I’m turning off the TV.
I’m like, What? Are you crazy? We are fighting about turning on or off the TV. And as I looked back, she won.
We were so happy. It was just tears of joy and we were — I mean, both of us. We were just so happy, my sister and me, and especially me. I have known Angie for so long and I have been there through the tough times when she didn’t believe she could win anything else and anything big.
A lot of doubters obviously in Germany. With Steffi and Boris in our country it’s difficult to satisfy the crowd.
And so it was just a special, very special moment I think for all of us, for all of German tennis, and especially for Angie, and then our friendship. So it’s also, on that part, it was just very special. Just so happy for her.