Andrea Petkovic gets real on one of Maria Sharapova's wins over Serena Williams

Petkovic recalls watching Sharapova beat Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andrea Petkovic gets real on one of Maria Sharapova's wins over Serena Williams
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Andrea Petkovic wrote quite an interesting piece on her Substack as the former German tennis star explained how after some time she realized that the reason she felt "uneasy" watching Maria Sharapova win the 2004 Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old teenager wasn't because she was a big Serena Williams fan.

After making the Wimbledon round-of-16 as a 16-year-old girl in 2003, Sharapova went even further in 2004 as she became a Grand Slam champion after ousting Williams 6-1 6-4 in the 2004 final at The Championships. Following her 2004 Wimbledon success and first Grand Slam win, Sharapova was tipped to win at least a couple of more Grand Slams and reach the world No. 1 ranking one day. 

On the other side, Petkovic - who was also 17 at the time - wasn't even ranked well enough to make the Wimbledon qualifying. When watching the 2004 Wimbledon final on her TV, Petkovic rooted for Williams. At the time, Petkovic wasn't happy about Sharapova's win and she thought it was just because he was a big Williams fan. 

"I should have known a lot sooner that I wasn’t going to be great. Really, I should have known in 2004. Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004. She beat Serena in the final and instantly became the new star in an ever-rapidly changing tennis sky," Petkovic wrote on her Substack.

"I watched the match on my tiny TV in my children’s room in the attic of my parents’ house, sweating in the summer heat of a room under the roof with no air-conditioning and felt conflicted. It made me unhappy seeing Maria win and back then I thought it was because I loved Serena so much but now I know that was not the whole picture."

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams
Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Petkovic: I felt uneasy because Sharapova was my age when she won Wimbledon

After some time, Petkovic realized that she wasn't disappointed about the 2004 Wimbledon final outcome because she was a Williams fan. Instead, Petkovic felt "uneasy" because in the back of her mind she knew that Sharapova was of her age when she accomplished one of the biggest dreams of every tennis player - to win Wimbledon. 

"The real reason why it made me feel uneasy watching Maria win Wimbledon aged 17 was that I was 17, too. But while Maria triumphed in front of thousands of people on the most famous Centre Court in the world I hadn’t even gathered enough ranking points to qualify for qualifying," Petkovic added.

"Now, every person has their own timing and just because she was winning right then didn’t mean I couldn’t at a later point in life - but it did make me think and for the first time doubt myself."

Andrea Petkovic and Maria Sharapova
Andrea Petkovic and Maria Sharapova© Getty Images Sport - Alex Livesey

Petkovic on her own career and success

Although Petkovic never reached the Williams or Sharapova heights, she still managed to have a successful and notable career. When Petkovic ended her pro tennis career in 2022, she finished with seven WTA titles and a career-high ranking of No. 7 in the world. 

At the Grand Slam level, Petkovic managed to make one semifinal - at the 2014 French Open. That year, Petkovic reached the French Open semifinal before losing to Simona Halep in two sets.

Reflecting on her career, Petkovic admitted it wasn't the best of the careers she could have had. But she also acknowledged that she at least figured a way to be a good player and also beat some great players from time to time.

"I was very good at focusing really hard for long stretches of play. That was my talent, I guess. So, in the rare case when the greats did have a slip-up, I was there and ready to pounce. It wasn’t enough to have the best tennis career of all time. Certainly not a Serena career, not even a Maria one. But it was enough to have a good career. And on good days, I would even say a great one," Petkovic said.

Andrea Petkovic
Andrea Petkovic© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Just before the start of the 2022 US Open, Petkovic announced her plans to play her final tournament at Flushing Meadows. In the last tournament of her career, Petkovic didn't have much luck with the draw as she drew former world No. 4 Belinda Bencic. Although Petkovic fought well against Bencic, she still ended on the losing side as the Swiss beat her with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 scoreline. After the match, Petkovic said she was happy with how the final pro match of her career went.

"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," Petkovic said after losing to Bencic.

Since retiring, Petkovic has remained still very much in tennis as she worked as an on-court interviewer during this year's Australian Open.

Andrea Petkovic Maria Sharapova Serena Williams