Saturday, April 4, 2015

Family Circle Cup - Petkovic's 2014 Win Revisited

Andrea Petkovic
Many of the matches, many at the Family Circle Cup, were fantastic to watch.

I don't remember too many blow-outs nor many upsets not fought hard for.

If you watched Petkovic at Family Circle Cup or other more recent tournaments, you have to realize how sound her strokes are and for the most part, her shot selection.

But, what I've realized over the last few weeks, is how she manages her game. Soon I believe she will be managing her opponent's game, even more so, as she did this last week.

She overwhelmed Sabine Lisicki in two sets at 6-0, 6-1. She then took down Lucie Safarova in three sets 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. There was nothing about her arrogant or over-confident in the first and nothing about her that seemed worried in the latter, but the prior was not like seeing Pete Sampras rifle through a match and then waiting for him to smile sometime the next day after he had his favorite breakfast.

You may not notice it every stroke of the game, but you know she loves being out on the court. She has come back after so many injuries, only stronger. But I believe what has happened recently, either from her coach, Petar Popovic or her own evolution, is she sees the match now, not just her strokes and points or those of her opponent.

I followed her a little this week, on the bench (sofa) and in front of the fans, and her comment, when thanking her team at the trophy ceremony, held sincere, "I'm not the easiest person to deal with." You wouldn't know it when she speaks or you meet her.

Some male fans (for a variety of reasons) were present when she exited the stadium during a fan session, which she embraces so well, and one said, "You are the sweetest in the world", after she hugged a little girl. Petkovic, smiling and laughing, said, "Oh, you don't know me." I like that.

I don't want to over-do Petkovic, but her level of play, match management, her love for the game and how she handles her success, so far, lends itself to a few years in the top ten. This is a good thing and I'll watch.

In her time-on-mike at the Family Circle Cup trophy ceremony, she down-played her use of the English language and then thanked everyone involved with the tournament and focused further on those closest to her. Well done. She out-spoke all those who were definitely worth hearing from, but after all, she is the champion of the tournament.

And, you cannot forget the Petko Dance, which she never does before she has met her opponent at net after-match and shaken the hand of the chair umpire:

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