By Ricky Dimon
Andrea Petkovic has victory danced for the final time in her professional career. Unfortunately for her fans, of which there are many, there was no celebratory sashay at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
Playing in her last tournament, Petkovic suffered a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 first-round loss to 2021 Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic. The 34-year-old German put up a commendable fight but ended up bowing out after two hours and 12 minutes.
“It was just pure sadness, which is also sometimes nice in a way,” Petkovic said of announcing last week that this would be the end. “It was very pure. It wasn’t really negative; it was just exhausting. Crying so much is exhausting.
“I still love the game; still have a tremendous amount of passion for the game. It’s more the body that is not allowing me to play tennis anymore in a way that I want to play it, train the way I want to train, (to) just play a full season really.
“This I constantly had to skip tournaments and to take breaks. The last four weeks I’ve just been playing with painkillers and anti-inflammatories. That was just the part that made me decide not to continue anymore–not the lack of passion or want for the game. So I think that was the saddest part in a way.”
For Sam Querrey, the passion for the game had been going away. Of course, at 34 years old and having played for 17 seasons on the pro tour, he also isn’t exactly feeling in peak physical condition.
“My body is getting a little tired,” Querrey explained in advance of his final event. “I’ve been at the U.S. Open since 2006. I’ve got two little kids. I want to go do something else. I want to test my mind somewhere else and try something new. It feels like this is the right time.”
Like Petkovic, Querrey also said farewell on Court 7. The 6’6” American lost to Ilya Ivashka 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(8), 6-3 on Tuesday evening.
Although there was no sendoff on the grand stage of Arthur Ashe Stadium, Petkovic and Querrey alike were both unlucky and lucky in a way to have played in the era of all-time greats–the former with Serena and Venus Williams and the latter with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer. That is part of the reason why neither one captured a Grand Slam title, but both climbed near the top of the rankings–Petkovic to No. 11 and Querrey to No. 9. Petkovic faced each Williams sister five times, going 0-5 against Serena and 2-3 against Venus. Querrey defeated Nadal once and Djokovic twice.
“It’s been amazing,” the 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist reflected. “To play in an era with Novak, Roger, and Rafa is pretty crazy. Usually you don’t have the three greatest players ever–and it’s not really an argument they are the three greatest players ever, I think. To have them in the same generation is pretty crazy. It’s been an incredible run for them and to be part of that week in and week out has been pretty cool. To play them all a handful of times has been great, and when you play those guys you play them on the biggest stages at the Grand Slams, on the center court.
“So those are amazing experiences, and to be lucky enough to win a couple times is pretty cool.”
Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.
Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator
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