Petkovic's father, Zoran, was a top player for the University of South Carolina.
"It's nice. It's an honor," said Petkovic, noting the long-standing connection.
Her father did not make the trip and see his daughter win the title, but returned for a visit last year.
"He came with me last year," she said, "and he was so happy because everybody was like, 'Oh, nice to have you back.'"
She's not sure exactly how her father found himself there, but explained his desire to leave his communist-controlled nation.
"I don't know why he came to South Carolina, but, well, when he was a tennis player it was communism in Yugoslavia," said the the German, who has Serbian origins. "They didn't really have any chances to get out of it except education, and so he had an offer for the college team ... So he came and really enjoyed it."
One of the first things that was affected was his wardrobe. "Everybody was wearing cowboy boots and he said he had never seen that," she said. "And blue jeans, you know. And so the first thing when he had some money he bought blue jeans and cowboy boots.""
But in the long term, the decision changed not only her father's prospects but also Petkovic's own upbringing and career, giving her a deeply personal tie to the region.
"It wasn't easy," she said, "and he just gave me all the chances that I took in my life, being educated in Germany, being the person I am today, and all the opportunities in tennis I wouldn't have without him and without him going to college here in the United States and learning the western way of living."
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