French Open 2014: Andrea Petkovic finds her philosophy for winning
When Andrea Petkovic last played at the French Open three years ago everyone wanted to talk about her post-victory celebrations. After reaching the quarter-finals here yesterday the 26-year-old German said the “Petko Dance” had been consigned to history. Instead she spoke about her admiration for the writing of Goethe and Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus.
There are few characters in the sport as multidimensional as Petkovic, who is through to the last eight thanks to a 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Kiki Bertens. A political science student who lists the people she most admires as “Goethe (genius in writing) and Che Guevara (genius in fighting)”, Petkovic talks about forming her own political party and of becoming a journalist. She has recorded music with her friends, playing drums and guitar, and attracted a cult following for her off-the-wall video blog under her online “Petkorazzi” persona.
It is a wonder that Petkovic also found time to become a successful tennis player, though the German has had a hard time since reaching her career-high position of No 9 in the world three years ago. Back, ankle and knee injuries kept her off the court for such long periods that she explored other options, gaining work experience with newspapers and politicians. Over the last 12 months, however, she has rebuilt her tennis career, climbing 109 places back to No 27 in the world rankings.
“Exactly one year ago here, when I lost in the second round of qualifying, I was very close to quitting,” Petkovic said. “I just didn’t like playing any more. I hated it. I was putting so much pressure on myself to get back where I had been.
“I was used to being a top 10 player. When I came back, I wasn’t. My footwork was off, my strokes were bad, my serve was bad. I hated it. That’s why I wanted to stop. After that I won a tournament, luckily, so I didn’t [stop] and I kept doing what I did. Now I’m here and it’s a nice reward.”
Petkovic said she had given up the dancing because it had “got out of hand” and because she was older. “I’m moving towards my thirties,” she smiled. “You can’t be dancing any more when you’re 30.”
Instead Petkovic answered questions about her two favourite authors, Goethe (“for me the greatest genius with words”) and David Foster Wallace (“I’m totally amazed by him”), and her favourite philosophers. “Friedrich Nietzsche is the one that impressed me most,” she said. “I actually really like the existentialists in French. I read a lot of Sartre and Camus.”
When the subject returned to tennis, Petkovic accused a reporter of sexism for suggesting that Bertens had suffered “a bit of a mental breakdown after the first set” which “seems to happen a lot in female tennis”.
Petkovic now faces Sara Errani, who beat the world No 7, Jelena Jankovic, 7-6, 6-2. Simona Halep, the world No 4, is the highest-ranked woman left in the competition. The 22-year-old Romanian, watched by her fellow countryman Ilie Nastase, beat Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3.
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Liverpool transfer news: Samuel Eto'o still on Brendan Rodgers' radar despite imminent arrival of Mario Balotelli - reports
Malky Mackay texts: Harry Redknapp defends former Cardiff City manger - 'he hasn't raped anyone and he is not a paedophile'
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Luis Suarez
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians