While the majority of players at Roland Garros talk forehands and backhands, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic prefers to chat Goethe and Oscar Wilde.
So, in keeping with her free spirit, the 31-year-old last year took herself off to Woodstock, the storied site of the 1969 music festival which showcased flower-power and hippies.
“I loved it. I like being in nature, doing whatever I wanted to do, having my routine and going to the same coffee shop every day,” Petkovic told a small group of reporters at Roland Garros after making the third round.
“I love having time for my writing and when I hit the wall I knew that it was just a two-hour bus ride to New York City so I was never far from civilisation.”
Petkovic, a former political science student, is in the process of writing a book which is due to be published in 2020.
Although reluctant to discuss its contents, she has insisted that it is not particularly tennis-related.
She found the atmosphere of Woodstock in upstate New York last autumn perfect for the creative process even if the town looked the least likely place to have once staged one of pop culture’s defining moments.
“I was probably the youngest person there which was surprising,” said Petkovic.
“But I rented a cottage and it was just a one-minute walk from the only bar in Woodstock so that was perfect.”
On the court, Petkovic has won six WTA titles in her career and was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2014.
Three years earlier, she made the last-eight at the Australian and US Opens.
But it has not always been an easy ride for a player whose career was thrown seriously off course in 2012 when back, knee and ankle injuries sidelined her for nine months.
She almost slipped out of the top 200, having reached a career high of nine in 2011.
Despite that setback, the closest she came to quitting was towards the end of 2015.
“I was just burned out. I don’t like to use the phrase as it’s an actual mental illness so I wasn’t close in that way.
“But I was burned out emotionally and physically. The travelling and being away from loved ones, it grinds you down.
“The tennis was fun, it was just the outside stuff.
“But now I enjoy the travelling, I always enjoy the tennis so quitting is much further from my mind.”
Next up at Roland Garros for Petkovic is a clash on Saturday against Australian eighth seed Ashleigh Barty.
She will, however, also keep an eye on her doubles partner Sofia Kenin who plays three-time champion Serena Williams the same day.
“She’s a machine,” said Petkovic of the 20-year-old American.
“She has a great attitude. She gets angry at herself but then it’s ‘OK, next point, it’s all good’.
“She doesn’t miss a ball, plays great depth and it’s impossible to push her back.”
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