I decided to buy the newspaper with the tyroid tidbit, because I smelled some more juicy info and I was not disappointed. Petra's outspoken manager never disappoints, BTW.
First, the Czech president (a big tennis fan and amateur player) expressed criticism that too many marketing activities may derail Petra's career.
There's no link between Petra's current losses and excessive marketing activities ?
No. Just health issues. She has tyroid issues, which leads to inflammations. First, she had an inflammaton of the Achilles tendon, then an inflammation of a knee and then she had fevers. She had to skip the entire fitness camp in the Slovak mountains.
When I saw her practising just one day before leaving for Indian Wells, she was hitting her groundstrokes without moving and when she moved, she would cough heavily.
So I expected that she could play bad at the tournament.
Petra's obligatory marketing activities: those for Nike and Wilson under the signed contracts. We try to reduce the remaining activities as much as we can. For example, Wozniacki had some obligatory marketing event four days in row at Istanbul.
Is Petra complaining about too much market. activities?
Not at all. For example it was her own decision to go to the Czech music awards. Petra is attracted to these events. After all, she's a 21-year old girl who wants to look good and to be seen.
We actually have had to reject many events that might bring money, but that would be too time-consuming for her.
However, she flied to London for the BBC awards...
We are targetting the English-speaking area. (One of the reasons is that both Wimbledon and the Olympics are held in London). The live coverage was watched by 15 million people, Djokovic and other megastars were there, etc. This could not be refused.
Tennis is a global sport, Petra's potential is several hundreds of millions of CZK (note: one USD = approx. 18 CZK). For example Federer can earn as much as 10 million euros per year from Nike. There are firmly fixed bonuses for the #1-3 ranking and for grandslam titles.
Is Petra attractive for sponsors?
She's a new face and that makes her interesting. She does not radiate the artificialness of Sharapova. She's natural, humble. She's somewhere between Woznaicki and Sharapova. Wozniacki is a pretty and nice girl, but tennis-wise she's a pusher.
By contrast, Sharapova she's an exalted Russian who has everything calculated to the smallest detail.
However, the era of blonde Russians who have moved to America is old news in the tennis world, don't you think?
True. Their story has been created by America, but you don't know how much it cost and who was behind it. By contrast, Petra is completely natural.
However, some of her latest antics on the court... She sometimes throws her racket, she looks more stressed.
One of the reasons is her rapid rise.
I didn't expect her to rise so quickly to the top. Two years ago before Wimbledon, I gave her a car, because she was ranked 50th in the world, but she was not provided with anything else except for rackets and outfits. And then, within a year she won Wimbledon! No-one had expected her huge run she was having last season. And she wasn't prepared for this either. After the Wimbledon triumph, she kept repeating: "I'm still the same, nothing has changed." And we kept telling her: "Everything has changed. From now on, you will be taken differently and they will measure your future results differently." I have already experienced this with Martina Hingis.
You were very close to Martina Hingis, she played for your tennis club.
As long as Martina was a 14-year old girl, she was playful and all fun. Then she won everything she could and from then on she would face stress in every tournament she entered. She was not able to cope with these stresses and therefore her career finished sooner than necessary. We are now trying to prevent Petra from going mad as a result from all the current pressure. The WTA is very demanding, they expect the TOP3 players to support every WTA project. For example, now they're pushing Petra to fly somewhere in April (for one day) to do some filming for WTA, while she should be preparing for FedCup. It's a very tough battle.