On Tour with Andrea Petkovic
Originally published on 26/05/15
Ask the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Serena Williams what their goals will be at Wimbledon this summer and you can be almost certain their answers will be the same: to win the tournament. Ask Andrea Petkovic the same question and you will get a different answer.
"My goal for this year's Wimbledon is to go to the Tate Modern," the 27-year-old German said. "Whenever I read about a painting that I really like it nearly always says that it's in the Tate Modern so I really have to go this year."
On the court Petkovic is as ambitious and committed as anyone, but she has always been a player for whom life is about much more than tennis.
Wherever she travels, Petkovic is one of the first either to seek out local exhibitions, plays and concerts, or simply spend time finding out more about people and places.
“I didn’t play so well at the Australian Open this year, but I had more time to enjoy other things. I stayed near the Palace Cinema Como in Chapel Street and went there most nights. It’s what we call in Germany a ‘culture cinema’. Every night they were showing a movie which had been nominated for an Academy award. I saw ‘The Imitation Game’, ‘Birdman’, movies like that.
“My other favourite thing about Melbourne is the Royal Botanical Gardens. They are so beautiful and there are so many different things there. They’re only about 10 minutes’ walk away [from Melbourne Park] and there’s a tram which goes right in front of the gardens, so I spend a lot of time there, especially this year as it wasn’t as hot as last year. I just took my book and spent my time reading.”
“Paris for me is always very ‘artsy’. There is a pass that you can buy for all the museums and I always visit a lot of them. I try to go to different museums. I like the Louvre, but it’s very big and during the French Open I tend not to go there because it’s huge and you need a lot of time. I usually just look around for exhibitions that are on at that moment. I remember visiting a Chanel exhibition. I’m not big into fashion, but it was very interesting. The designers have very creative minds once you look into them.
“I really like Impressionist art. I have read quite a few books about the Impressionists, so I love to visit the Musée d’Orsay. But my favourite is modern abstract art. I would say that is the art that I would buy and that’s the art that I best understand. It’s what I grew up with more or less.
“I’ve moved out of my parents’ house and I now have a very modern house, so Impressionists don’t really fit in there, which is a pity. I was looking for [an older house], but there’s not much available in the town that I live in, in Darmstadt. I would love to have had an old building and to have hung some Impressionist art there, but now I have to go for some modern things.”
“I always stay in Chelsea, near the Saatchi Gallery, so I go there almost every day. I really love it. I have a huge art book and all my favourite paintings are in the Tate Modern, so going there is my goal for this year’s Wimbledon. Of the older artists I really like Henri Matisse and Chagall. I really like Mark Ross and Mark Rothko as well.
“My other goal in London this year is to go to the theatre, which is one of the things I love doing most in Germany. I would love to see a Shakespeare play in English. At home they always translate Shakespeare into German. I’ve read Shakespeare in English, but I would really like to see an original Shakespearean play.”
“In New York for me it’s more about bars, cafes and restaurants. I always stay right on the corner of the Village and SoHo, just across from a huge arts store, where all the artists buy their paint and materials. I like going in there and seeing all these great artists. I guess they’re great. I don’t know but I always like to imagine that they are. I just like to hang around in cafes and bars. You just have to watch. There are so many designers, models and crazy fashion people. It’s really interesting and laid-back, so I always stay there and stay away from [central] Manhattan.”
This is an excerpt from "Globe Trotting" by Paul Newman in tennishead Volume 6 Issue 2. Subscribe to the magazine today or download the latest digital magazine, available on Apple and Android devices.