(November 7, 2012) --
Say It Isn’t So, Petko: Four more years! Four more years! While those chants have ricocheted across America following President Barack Obama the last few months as he’s campaigned for re-election (Tuesday was Election Day, we hope you know!), we here at Tennis Now aren’t chanting them in support of Obama (that wasn’t a political statement, per se) but instead at Andrea Petkovic Why? Petkovic, who is making a surprise appearance at the WTA $125K stop in Pune, India, this week is also the blogger of the week on the tour’s site, and had a rather shocking timeline set out for herself that she revealed in an Election Day blog post:
I don't see myself playing longer than 2016... To elaborate on 2016, that year was always on my mind. I always wanted to play the Olympics in Rio. I always told myself I'd stop after 2016. With injuries my goals have shifted a bit, and now I have to rearrange myself... When that time comes, if I still feel there's a lot in me, I'll keep playing. But if not, I'll do something else. There are hundreds of other things I want to do... we'll see.
Well, Petko, we mean what we say: Four more years! Twice. So, let’s say 2020 is your last year and call it good, no? You’ll only be 33…
‘I’m A Normal Guy:’ Let’s face it: 2012 was no 2011 for Bernard Tomic. Australia’s next great tennis hope hit a rocky road this year following his jaw-dropping run at Wimbledon in 2011. Sure, he made the fourth round at his home Slam at the Australian Open but days later -- Australia’s independence day, to be exact -- Bernie’s year took a quick downhill turn, and the 20-year-old didn’t have his brakes in tact. Monday he was fined $1,000 and put on a 12-month good behavior bond for failing to stop for police that day in January after being pulled over two times earlier in the day. The worse of it: Tomic was driving a V8 BMW, a $150,000 luxury car that most youngsters with his type of license aren’t allowed to operate.
But Bernie, who suffered from fatherly frustrations and -- late in the year -- accusations of match tanking, hoped to turn a corner after this bumpy ride: “I was young and immature and that's what you do at a young age. I've had my fun the last year or two, but I have to step up,” he told reporters after his court appearance, where he was clad in a black suit and a striped tie. “In Europe I drive a Ferrari, but here it is public transportation.”
Rafter to the Rescue: Monday night at the Madison Square Garden, Pat Rafter, the Australian Davis Cup coach, told Tennis Now that he thought Bernie’s on-court game came down to one thing: movement.
If he works hard and works on his footwork, he needs to become a better athlete. If he can do that then he can compete with the top guys. But he’s a step slower than he was at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of this season he was in great shape and he let it slide. He became a bit vulnerable because of that and then lost some confidence because of that. There are a lot of things that went wrong.
An Eye on Nadia: Who’s on your to-watch list for 2013? Perhaps Nadia Petrova, now 30 years old, should be. The Russian veteran had a thrilling end to her singles and doubles season: she won the mandatory event in Tokyo before qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in doubles with Maria Kirilenko. It was there that the Russians, seeded fourth of four teams, would win two matches to claim the title. And to make things even sweeter, Petrova added on more singles title to her résumé last week when she destroyed Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Qatar Airways Tournament of Champions in Sofia. Remember when Nads had Maria Sharapova on the ropes at the US Open before a rain delay in the fourth round this year? We do.
Petrova revealed to Bobby Chintapalli in USA Today’s weekly WTA post that she in Kirilenko will split as a doubles duo, both finding more focus on singles this coming year. And should we expect more good stuff from Ms. Petrova? As long as she sticks with Coach Ricardo Sanchez, you could expect her to be aiming for another run at the Top 3: “[Ricardo] really sees my game well and knows exactly how I should be playing. He remembers the days when I was No. 3 in the world, so he had already a picture in his mind for me. We started working, and I guess the hard work is paying off."
The Call of (Doubles) Duty: While Petrova and Kirilenko will pair with Katarina Srebotnik and Lisa Raymond respectively, there is another top doubles player in the world who is without a partner for the 2013 season: Jonathan Marray. Marray, a Brit who causes scoreline double takes because of his name’s similarity to the Murray brothers, was a Wimbledon champion this year alongside Frederik Nielsen, who he is partnering with at the ATP World Tour Finals this week in London. But Nielsen wants to continue his work on the singles tour while also playing doubles, contrary to Marray’s doubles-only approach. The result? “I’m still on the lookout for a regular partner for next year,” Marray told reporters Monday. We wish them both the best of luck though think Marray, one of the best doubles players in the world, will have an easier time finding a partner than will Nielsen at making a go at it on the singles side of things: the 29-year-old Dane is ranked No. 362, 122 spots below where he started the season.
Itty Bits: Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and John McEnroe all returned to Madison Square Garden for a PowerShares Series stop there Monday. Newsday took to likening the gents to former presidents drawing crowds at campaign stops. OK. But it was the one Aussie of the group, Pat Rafter, who actually won the event, beating Sampras than McEnroe. How dare he! | It’s officially official: Rafael Nadal will not play in the Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic. | Watch a great news clip on Serena and Venus Williams’ trip to South Africa, their second of two legs on a trip to Africa. They had visited Nigeria earlier in the week. | Serena has followed up her trip with a little vacation… in Israel. | Sania Mirza opens up on her injuries, fashion and what it’s like to be one of India’s leading ladies. | More on what tennis tournaments—USTA and beyond—can do for local economies, this time from Wilmington, N.C. | Meet Alison Lee, the new Executive Vice President of the ATP’s International Group, which includes Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Africa. We love the headshot, Ali.