Andrea Petkovic played the last Grand Slam match of her career as she lost to Belinda Bencic in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday. The German former world No.9 still loves tennis, but her body can’t take the pressure of professional sport any longer.
During the post-match press conference, Petkovic broke into tears as she revealed that she’d been constantly crying the previous five days and explained the reason for her retirement:
I think for me 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, just play a full season really.
Petkovic felt grateful to play her last match against Belinda Bencic:
I was glad that it ended like this, with Belinda, somebody I love and respect so much. Also that I could bring to the last match everything that I brought to my career, which was grit and tenacity, and just respect for the game and for my opponents.
A feel-good moment ❤️
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2022
Even though she had injuries throughout her career, this year she had to skip tournaments constantly and take breaks. The last four weeks she played with painkillers and anti-inflammatories. That was the major reason Petkovic decided not to continue any more.
In addition, the 34-year-old started to feel that her time on the Hologic WTA Tour has passed:
I did feel this year, also for the first time, that my narrative has been told and is not relevant any more in a way, that the new generation is taking over.
It was two weeks ago, at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, that Petkovic started coming to terms with retirement and contemplating how to announce it to her fans.
Talking to the media, Petkovic broke into tears once again as she said:
I always felt so grateful to be part of the WTA and all these amazing players and women that inspired me. I honestly never thought I would have the chance to compete with these tremendous athletes and women for such a long time.
Petkovic won nine WTA titles during her career that started in 2006. She played one Grand Slam semifinal, at the 2014 French Open, and two major quarterfinals, at the Australian Open and US Open in 2011.