Germany’s Andrea Petkovic advanced to the semifinals a Grand Slam for the first time in this year’s 2014 French Open. She will face another first time semifinalist, Simona Halep in tomorrow’s match. The No. 28 seed has now gotten past Sarah Errani, Kiki Bertens, Kristina Mladenovic, Stefani Voegele, and Misaki Doi in the French Open to get to the semifinals. Petkovic is known for her strong personality and spontanaeity on and off the court. Watch her beat Eugenie Bouchard, cry and then dance all within a few minutes in the video above.
Here’s what you need to know about Petkovic:
1. She Plans to Quit Tennis After the 2016 Olympics
Petkovic is an extremely ambitious woman, however her ambition is not to pursue tennis, but to become a journalist involved with politics. She plans to study at the Henri School in Hamburg, Germany to study political science and later be a broadcast journalist on current events.
Petkovic has taken the nickname “Petkorazzi” by practicing her journalism skills through video blogging. Her videos are famous among the tennis pros for their hilarious content and ridiculous questioning, starring some of the best pros in the world including John Isner and Novak Djokovic.
She told The Independent:
When I watch tennis I always see those serious, ambitious faces fighting for each point,” she said. “When I talk to the players off the court, they are just as fun and as entertaining as other young people of the same age. I just try to bring that side out of tennis players, to bring some fun to it.”
Some say the is Petkovic wasn’t so distracted with her quest to become a journalist, she would be even better than she is now.
She told The Independent of her critics in an interview:
I always tell them that if I wasn’t doing these things I would never be this good. I’m the kind of person who needs to train not only my body but also my mind and my spirit.”
2. She Beat Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open This Year
In the most recent Australian Open, Petkovic upset No. 8 in the world, Maria Sharapova, in a straight sets sweep. This was Petkovic’s first quarter-final appearance in a Grand Slam, while Sharapova is one of the most famous veterans in the game.
Petkovic told media after:
Maria is such a great champion, it’s just two or three points and she comes back, and she started playing so well in the last couple of games, so I was a little nervous, but I am happy I closed it out in the end.”
Petkovic is more than capable of causing another upset, maybe even against Sharapova once again if they both advance to the finals at Roland Garros.
3. Music is Vital to Her Training
Petkovic is one of the most interesting tour players. Not only does she plan on quitting tennis to be a journalist, but she learned to be coordinated on court via the use of drums. She loves music so much that she has a song and victory dance called “Petko Dance” that she first debuted at last year’s U.S. Open. Click here to see her do it.
She told The Independent:
It was a bet with my coach. I was playing so badly in the US Open last summer and then I drew Nadia Petrova in the first round of the US Open. It was obviously a very tough draw. My coach said: ‘OK, if you win, you have to do something special.’ I said: ‘What’s special?’ He said: ‘You have to do a victory dance.’ When I won, that was the first thing that came into my mind, the winning dance. Ever since it’s been following me around. I don’t do it after every win. I just look at people and see how they react. If they start to dance, I do.”
4. She Hasn’t Set Any Goals For Her Tennis Career
Although Petkovic has been extremely successful in the sport, she hasn’t set any goals in the long term due to her plans to quit after the 2016 Olympics. She has a fun loving spirit and a passion for the game, but her passion for politics and news reporting exceeds it.
Petkovic has won 3 WTA titles in her career and continues to excel, but her tennis future remains a mystery.
The animated player told EspnW.com of her last win in the French Open:
I never kissed my racket before in my life. I don’t know what happened to me. I was just overwhelmed by emotion. I had no boy to kiss, so I kissed my racket, right?”
If she keeps up her level of play, she might change her mind about quitting.
5. She’s Actually Serbian
Petkovic was born in Bosnia to a Serbian father and Bosniak mother. Her family fled to Germany when the Balkan wars broke out in their homeland, destroying her grandparent’s house. Her father used to play tennis and continues to coach the game. She has dual citizenship in Germany and Bosnia.
She takes pride in being raised in Germany while embracing her Serbian roots. She told The Independent:
I always say that the way I think and act and structure my life is very German. I get along well with all the Serb players and they always say to me: ‘You’re more German than the Germans!’
But I consider myself to have a big Serbian heart, because I’m more emotional than Germans usually are. I have a big temper, though I try to control it. I hang around a lot with the Serbs at tournaments because they are somehow a little more easy-going, although I’m also very good friends with the German girls.”