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By Ros Satar, in Birmingham

  • Andrea Petkovic shares her philosophies on loving grass again, Eurovision and much more in what is becoming our annual natter

BIRMINGHAM, UK – Andrea Petkovic can eschew the sad movies for another round at least, after advancing at the Aegon Classic.

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In what is fast becoming our annual Eurovision and grass court season get—together, we had a chance to sit down after her first round win over Lucky Loser Magda Linette.

This time last year she joked that grass had been such an unforgiving surface in every way that her first bad loss on the green stuff sent her into a fit of watching sad movies. So surely there would be no need for sad movies today, after she took to the court following an early exit at the French Open?

“I watched a really sad movie yesterday – Control – about Joy Division”

It made for a redeeming feature after her admission and our discussion about the relative merits (or otherwise) on this year’s Eurovision entry from Sweden – but more on that later.

The love-affair with grass

Grass is a surface that can be extremely unforgiving – the low bounces, the tricky slippery surfaces and we will get on to the weather in just a moment. But as time has marched on in the German’s career she has come to view it no longer as an adversary but rather a… romantic opportunity?

She said: “Grass is like the type that grows. It’s not love at first sight, it’s the one that you have to get to know. It took me almost two or three years. Maybe it’s like a long lost friend after long years you meet again and you fall in love.”

 The break-up with clay

It is not as though Petkovic has no skills on the dirt – four of her six titles are on the stuff, but this year it was no friend to the lively German.

“I think [clay and I] broke up. I had a couple of bad draws and then I didn’t get off to a good start and then it sort of snowballed from there and couldn’t get my groove back on.

“And then I got sick, during Rome I was not feeling well and then I got sick after Rome so I couldn’t take a wildcard in Nurnberg where I’d like to have maybe a couple of matches to get into a groove so that was unfortunate.”

There probably comes a time in this tight turnaround in the lengthy European swing when you have to cut your losses and look to the next surface.

She agreed: “I was aware that I was maybe not 100% in the best shape of my life when I came into the French Open but I still tried my best and I lost to [Yulia] Putintseva second round there, she played really well.

“So then I was really also looking forward to grass because this was the first time I had enough time to prepare on it, and also I practiced in Halle so I really put in a lot of time on grass which I normally don’t do because I hate it from the beginning.

“This time I was open because I though ‘Andrea, open up your heart to grass’ and it came in and it will stay, I hope (laughing). I have to change the approach, right? The last years’ I always did the least I could and now I’m doing the most that I can.”

In a rain disrupted Birmingham, Petkovic has an ambitious timetable, scheduled for doubles in both Birmingham and Eastbourne a right thigh injury fourth seed Belinda Bencic ruled Petkovic out of the doubles where she was partnering the Swiss.

The Eurovision Wrap!

However there were more important things to discuss, as our mounting horror at her favourite song choice at this year’s Eurovision raised some tennis writers’ eyebrows!

She justified: “He was cute, he was like 16, pimples – he was so charming.”

Then again she also liked (probably not surprisingly) this year’s German entry. Where do we begin with that? However, this year there was no Petkovic to grace Twitter after an early exit from Rome.

“Actually you know what I did, I went to a Dostoyevsky play. This is how much I hated my place – I went to Crime & Punishment – a three and a half hours play.”

This is a player who reads The History of Surrealism to while away the rain delays – a common question this week to the players who have managed to beat the weather.

She told us: “I’m sleeping and reading most of the time and I try to stay away from my phone, because I think it takes energy. I don’t know maybe I’m superstitious of this kind of electric stuff. Get’s into your brain and messes with your waves.”

Even with a reduced field, the weather has been more of a challenge, and Petkovic’s experience may well see her managing the conditions better than most.

Petkovic continues her bid at the Aegon Classic on Thursday.

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