The Hartford Courant
Young Pro Andrea Petkovic, New Haven Open Unveil Refurbished City Courts
By DOM AMORE
Aug 16 2012
Andrea Petkovic knows the value and power of access. It was access to tennis courts at an early age that shaped her life.
"When I was young there were tennis courts right across the street from my school," she told a group of youngsters at refurbished McClain Park on Thursday. "And when school was finished I would just run over to the courts and look for someone to hit with me. Without the sport, my life would be very different. Maybe it helps one kid here."
Petkovic, 24, who was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and raised in Darmstadt, Germany, will be returning to competitive pro tennis, after six months recovering from back and ankle injuries, as the New Haven Open gets under way. The tournament begins with qualifying Friday and Saturday and the main draw starts on Sunday.
"The last few months have been a difficult time," she said. "I'm not expecting too much, to be honest. I'm just expecting to stay healthy."
Petkovic had reached No.9 in the world last October, but a stress fracture in her back cost her three months, and then she injured her ankle in her first match back in Germany early in 2012. She is still ranked 27th, fresh and ready to return, taking part a clinic with a group of youngsters from the the Boys and Girls Club in New Haven. She is one of the sports more charismatic players, known for her victory dance and her popular YouTube channel.
She was at McClain Park to cut the ribbon and unveil the new courts, restored by a $65,000 grant from the U.S. Tennis Association's Fresh Courts program and sponsor American Express. The park is located in New Haven's Hill Section, right across Washington Avenue from Truman School. The City's Parks and Recreation Department refurbished the basketball courts and other areas of the park, which is in close proximity of seven city schools.
Anne Worcester, director of the New Haven Open and a driving force in getting the grant, appeared at McClain Park along with neighborhood leaders.
"My family didn't have a lot of money," Petkovic said. "Tennis gave my life a different perspective. Most of my best friends, I've met through tennis. My social life is very much what it is because of tennis."