Guest Mailbag: Andrea Petkovic fields questions from her fans

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A lot of times tennis players have great stories that only come out later. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on Tour lately?-- Julie, Paris

• Well the funniest thing was definitely when I got sick in Carlsbad and I had to run off the court -- which actually was quite embarrassing and not funny. But I really didn't want to throw up on court, so I was standing there and thinking, 'what is better, being on SportsCenter for the next 25 years, or running off the court and being on SportsCenter for just the next year?' So I figured running off the court was the better choice. That's probably the most embarrassing and funny thing that has happened to me.

Do you feel that your new celebratory post-match dance, the one where you wave your arms, is less objectionable for opposing players?-- Ben, Toronto

• Well, the dance has nothing to do with the opponents, it has more to do with the audience. I want to give back to the audience the support that they give us all the time. So I just tried to find something that is really mellow, not getting rid of the 'Petko Dance' altogether, but still giving back to the audience. So I feel like it's a better mixture than the one before.

Andrea, I'm a big fan of your game. How do you manage momentum shifts during a match? What's the secret to maximizing your positives while minimizing your opponent's degree of control and success?-- Rory, San Francisco

• Oh, that's a good question. It's something that I had to learn myself. In the beginning I was playing well but I didn't have the mental stability to pull through big matches. I had momentum shifts. I let the opponent take control and that cost me a lot of matches in the last year. With experience and a lot of practice, and the fitness I've achieved now, it just gives you the confidence to be able to run for three hours if it's necessary. All the experience just made me a more mature player and now I'm just able to stay positive as long as possible. And of course, when the positive results come from positive thinking, you figure (positive thinking is) the right thing to do.

Hi Andrea, I love your enthusiasm both on and off the court. How do you get up for matches? Any tips or techniques for the rest of us?-- Nick, Montclaire, N.J.

• Well actually I have to try to get down because I'm really excited for matches and I'm really nervous and I really want to go out there play. So I have to relax myself a little bit more. But the most important thing is to just warm up really well until you sweat. I always take 10 minutes of really intensive warmups so when I go out there to play, I'm sweating already and I can just float into the game and play my best.

Who are your favorite male players to watch? To hang out with?-- Dan, London

• My favorite male player to watch is actually Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I just think he plays spectacular, when he's playing well I just love watching him smashing the forehands and running to the net like a maniac. I think he's the most spectacular player on the court. Hanging around, I love all the Serbian guys. We are very close and have known each other for a long, long time. Especially Novak Djokovic of course, who's one of the most fun characters I've ever met in my life. It's always great hanging around with him, but with all the other Serbian players as well.

I love the "Petko Dance." Are you a good dancer in real life? What kind of music do you like?-- Tom, Va.

• Ha! I'm not, I don't think so. You know I always goof around when I go to clubs and dance, so I never really tried dancing seriously. I just think it's fun and I always think it should be as fun as possible so I always just goof around. I don't think it's really good, but I have fun.

I prefer rock music. My favorite band is Block Party from Great Britain. But I also really enjoy old music, jazz, Johnny Hartman, Elvis Presley. I really like every kind of music that is well made. I listen to a lot of music and I download all the music legally from the internet. It's a great way to kill time when you're waiting for your matches.

You have said that Jennifer Capriati is one of your favorite players. What one part of her game do you admire the most?-- Jonathan, Raleigh, N.C.

• I just loved how Jennifer maintains her own personality and can somehow be unique on the Tour and still be such a great player. She was always one of my favorites to watch, and her fighting spirit in coming back in matches that were almost already lost -- I'm thinking of her (2002) final in Australia against Martina Hingis. So I think, she and Serena (Williams), they brought some kind of rock and roll to tennis.

What is your favorite city to visit?-- Tom, Louisville

• My favorite city is New York, definitely. I love a few Spanish cities as well, Madrid and Barcelona, but New York has so much culture and so much art to it, I just love this spot.

What is the favorite thing about your job?-- Ben, N.Y.

• I think the favorite thing about my job is stepping out on the court and improving every day. Having the feeling of winning matches, playing well, but still being able to improve 150 things. I think that's what gets you going every time, what gets us all going, to step out on the court knowing you have to improve so much more, that gives you the motivation to keep going.

You seem to have a fresh personality and are not afraid to put yourself out there. If you could do one thing to market women's tennis better, what would it be?-- Anon, New York

• Wow, that's a really good question. I think the WTA is doing a really, really good job, especially in the last couple of years. I think they really stepped it up, and I love the new marketing campaign "Strong is Beautiful." I think it's a great idea and I think it reflects the new, modern women's tennis. I wouldn't change so much, because, you know, I'm a tennis player myself and I know how much time and effort it takes, so they are doing the best they can. I think really we stepped up the game altogether. Especially now with all these great performances on court and so many women playing so, so well, it's really a great time for women.