One win away: Petra Martic is chasing her first WTA title
The Croatian Petra Martic (4th seed, ranked 60) is enjoying her time on court at BRD Bucharest Open. “The support I get from the crowd is amazing, they are cheering so much for me, it feels like playing in Croatia!”, she told us at BRD Insider, Treizecizero.ro’s daily tv show from Arenele BNR.
She needed all the support she could get during her quarterfinal match: it was a tough three-setter (the same as the previous match), with a lot of ups and downs against Laura Siegemund.
Can she win her first WTA title in Bucharest? “I hope so, it’s one of my goals to win a title this year. I have been close before but couldn’t make it. Here, every match is tough, so we’ll see.”
Petra says her favorite surface is clay but this past year she’s had good results on all surfaces, especially at Slams. “It didn’t use to be like that before. I was thinking my game works only on clay, so I am happy I managed to prove myself on all surfaces.”
She was out for one year because of a back injury, and she was not sure she would be able to come back. “It was the toughest time of my life, but all I could think was that I wanted to come back. Once I came back, it helped me because it gave me a different perspective: I was just happy to play without pain. Now I have to spend more time preparing for matches and recovering after them, but it is just part of my routine.”
“In the last few months I won so many matches that were tight, like the ones here. In those moments, I am thinking, ok, what is more important here, that you can play pain-free for three hours or that you might lose?”
“Now I can smile, even if I made the worst shot ever. When I was younger, I couldn’t do it, it was all about winning the match. Now I can enjoy it more, and it is a lot more fun to play like this.”
“If I had been forced to retire from tennis because of the injury, I would have been very unhappy, because I felt I had more tennis to play. I felt I was not done. I am very happy that I got to a new career-high ranking after my comeback. Now, even if my career ends, I am happy that I proved myself. It’s a load off my mind.”
How did she develop her all-around, creative game? “Having variety used to be a disadvantage, I had so many options, I was often making bad decisions. When you have a one-dimensional game, there aren’t many decisions to make. That’s why I needed more time to put it all together. People think that it’s great to be talented, but often you see one-dimensional players being successful faster. But I wouldn’t trade it. Ok, it was no easy to wait and be patient and feel lost on the court, but now I’m finally getting there.”
She has had two female coaches in a row, which is unusual for the tour – most players have male coaches. “It just happened. When I was younger, I thought only men could coach. But it all comes down to communication and I really like the fact that she used to be a professional player herself, and she knows what it is like to be out there, having days when you don’t feel the ball or you don’t feel confident. I don’t think I could work with someone who didn’t play professionally.”
“I think the overall level of the women’s tour is higher now, and the fact that anybody can beat anybody is good news, because somebody who is 90 in the world can have great results. More and more players feel that way, including me.”
Goals for this year? “I started the year at 82 in the rankings. I would like to finish inside top 50, maybe top 40. I am close, I don’t have a lot of points to defend this year.”
Watch the whole interview here in English (via Treizecizero.ro)