Three years have passed since that damn 2016: a herniated disc had slowed Petra Martic's ascent, blocking her for almost a year and slowing her growth. After three seasons, however, the 28-year-old has found the strength, perseverance and the dedication necessary to go back to dreaming.
She has done it since her comeback to competition in 2017, reaching the fourth round at the French Open. Then, in the same year, she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and in 2018 the fourth round at the Australian Open.
Not forgetting the first WTA 125Ks, won last season, in September in Chicago, against Mona Barthel. This year she went from tears after defeat in the third round of the Australian Open (where she was defeated with 7-6, 7-6 by Sloane Stephens, despite her being ahead by a break in both sets) to the joy of the first career title, the Istanbul Cup, won in three sets against Marketa Vondrousova.
She also reached the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open. Iva Majoli, winner of Roland Garros in 1997, made the prediction: "She can break the top-15 of the WTA ranking, at least." And now that race has started again.
On her beloved clay courts. Martic has always expressed her best tennis during the clay season and, at the next French Open, she will be the real outsider. The player that no one will want to meet. "I love playing on clay courts, they are perfect for my tennis.
I love rotations and drop shots. In reality, I also like the hard courts, but at the beginning of the year, I had physical problems that made me lose my rhythm in training. Because of this, the matches went wrong. From Charleston on, things have improved.
Now I'm experiencing the best moment of my career." Her aesthetically pleasing tennis can find confirmation from the upcoming tournaments.