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Tennis Channel Inside-In Podcast: Andrea Petkovic's Personality Is Here To Stay
Fans flocked to the top 10 player with the flashy game and bubbly personality, and now the recently retired German is mesmerizing the commentary world.
Published Mar 14, 2023
The athlete-to-commentator transition is often better on paper than in reality. Each sport has these figures that are walking sound bytes, capable of entertaining the masses and leaving fans and TV executives salivating for the chance to hear that player as commentator in their next chapter. But broadcasting isn't as easy as it seems, and some former players just don't carry the same personality to their headsets. Andrea Petkovic is not one of those people.
The German was a mainstay on the WTA for over fifteen years, collecting her fair share of hardware and match wins. There was never a moment too big, nor any media appearances that lacked humor. In her first year since putting an end to her playing days, Petkovic has proven to be a natural on the mic. On the Tennis Channel Inside-In Podcast, the new media darling discussed why she's adjusted and loving her new role, and why everything in life always seems to lead back to tennis.
Part of what has enabled Petkovic to succeed from the get-go in commentator is that she has instant credibility. She was successful on tour from her teenage years through her 30s, and competing with and befriending several generations of great players. And her toughness cannot be doubted, as she battled through several debilitating injuries to get the most out of her career.
"I don't know how the other players are, but I love watching tennis. I always kept watching when I was injured," Petkovic recalled.
"I was always somebody that was fueled by revenge, I will call it. It's not the right word, but it fueled me when people said, 'oh she's done for. She's been injured so much, she's never going to come back.' That kind of fueled me to show them."
Petkovic showed them, and at the 2022 US Open it felt like time to officially put a bow on her tennis career. She debated even making a formal announcement, that is until somebody beat her to it.
"I wake up the next day, I turn on my phone, and I have 100 direct messages: Serena Williams retiring at the US Open. And I was like, now it doesn't matter. Nobody will care about poor little Andrea at the US Open!"
Petkovic found amusement in the situation, and believes it helped her process the difficult emotions that come with giving up such a special craft. She doesn't regret much, but wishes she could've stopped to smell the roses more often instead of moving on to the next goal so quickly.
"I never stopped and was just like, I achieved a lot, I'm happy, and now let's try and attack the next goal."
It's an honest admission from somebody so positive, and a cautionary tale for those competing in all fields to appreciate progress. That love of all things tennis has led Petkovic to this moment, where she recently completed first week of English commentary at Tennis Channel. It's rare that a debut is met with such approval, but this broadcaster is anything but common, and most certainly prepared.
"When I watch a women's match, especially when I was still playing, I would sit there with my Moleskine and write down notes of what players were doing," Petkovic said.
She's enjoyed calling men's matches alongside the polished professional Mark Knowles, and appreciates the opportunity to impart her tennis knowledge on the viewers.
"I would never trash a player for playing bad, I would always try and explain why thing's are happening. And mostly it's because your opponent is doing something really well in a way that makes you play worse."
And if broadcasting doesn't capture Petkovic's old soul, it will most likely be the writing bug.
"I remember very distinctly when I was 16 years old, one girl was next to me at lunch with her coach, and they were going through her match," Petkovic remembered of the moment she first got the urge to write. "I sat there and I was like, that is brilliant! How can I coach myself? So what I started to do was write down narratives of my matches."
Petkovic finds solitude in those private moments alone with her notebook, and has even turned into a legit author. In 2020 she wrote "Between Fame & Honor Lies the Night," and continues to use the pen as an instrument to express herself creatively. And of course, the broadcaster side of her will be ready to write down proper notes as well.
Tennis Channel Inside-In's aim as a podcast is to bring as many different perspectives in the tennis world to the masses. In this episode you'll understand why Andrea Petkovic captivates every room she walks into, why you should never snip at her on social media ("I consider myself to be the biggest troll on social media, so if you troll a troll, you're done for"), and why she's created a blueprint for athletes to embrace retirement and find comfort in their passions. The WTA will miss having the fun-loving German on their roster, but the tennis commentary world will never be the same.