Petkovic’s slow way back – “needs time”

Petkovic's slow way back - 'needs time'

Patience – until the end of last year, this virtue was not one of andrea petkovic’s preferred characteristics. But after almost eight months of injury, interrupted only by a brief comeback in stuttgart in april, germany’s once best female tennis player has learned to stay calm. The eighth-final loss to dominika cibulkova of slovakia at the WTA tournament in new haven didn’t throw the darmstadter out of her stride.

"I just have to stay positive. It will take some time until I play my best tennis again," petkovic said after the 4:6, 1:6 on wednesday. "My only goal is to stay healthy first, find my rhythm and get the inconsistency out of my game," the 24-year-old said.

Petkovic got off to a bad start against sixth seed cibulkova, losing her serve twice. After that, the hessian fought her way back to finally concede the first set and, after 1:10 hours, the entire match. "I played three or four good balls, but then I made mistakes that I wouldn’t normally make in a hundred years," said petkovic.

"My strokes and the way i move are good. But you just can’t simulate matches in training," the fed cup player said. "When the stress of a game is added to it, it’s a completely different situation. I’ve been out for eight months, the lack of consistency in my game is just the price I pay for that."

Above all, the serve is still causing petkovic major problems. After having to take a break at the beginning of the year because of a fatigue fracture in her back, an ankle injury put her out of action in the spring. The right course of action has therefore yet to be found. "After i tore my cruciate ligament five or six years ago, it was the same thing. I was away for eight months, and when I came back I played some good games, but also some terrible ones," petkovic recalled.

But the world number 43 remains calm ahead of the US open, which starts on monday. Petkovic is just happy to be back on the tour again. "At least I didn’t break anything in this tournament. That’s a step forward from the last one," petkovic said. And looking ahead to the new year, she even takes something positive away from all the jolts. "I just have to accept that this is the worst year of my career. But the good thing is, I don’t have any points to defend next year."

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