Andrea Petkovic is usually a woman of clear words. However, the 34-year-old tennis player is reluctant to commit to one point: whether this is her last season or whether she is planning another one. “It will certainly not be a matter of will. But I just notice that the regeneration phases are getting much, much longer,” she said after her knockout round defeat at the Berlin lawn tournament on Wednesday evening.

Last year, many thought that their performance at the Steffi Graf Stadium could have been their last in Berlin. Petkovic ranked beyond the top 100 and was rarely able to do anything against the world’s best players. But in the second half of 2021 she amazed herself, among other things, when she reached the final in Hamburg and later won her seventh title on the WTA Tour in Cluj-Napoca.

At the end of the year she decided to continue her career and she is currently just behind the top 50 in the world rankings. “When I see that, I have short, euphoric feelings again. Because I no longer have these expectations,” she said of the importance of placements in advanced athletes. The fact is: Petkovic is currently the second best German tennis player, behind Angelique Kerber, who is also 34 years old.

“Angie and I both have the same passion and try to continue our careers as long as the body allows it,” explained Petkovic. In fact, the 1.80 meter tall athlete looks incredibly fit and well trained, which is one of the reasons why she has really found fun in tennis again. That wasn’t always the case in her 15-year professional career, Petkovic had several serious injuries and even had motivational problems at times.

She has long since built up a foothold alongside tennis, as a columnist for newspapers or weekly magazines and with appearances as a presenter on television. Anyone who has experienced her in Berlin these days will also get to know both sides of Andrea Petkovic. On the one hand there is the still sometimes dogged athlete on the pitch, who fights, quarrels and – as after the victory she jokingly called a “milestone” in round one against Garbine Muguruza – also celebrates exuberantly.

And of course it’s always good for a saying, like the one after the Muguruza match when she said: “I always flirt with not being able to play on grass. But now I’m not so scared of falling. That’s why I can’t curse the lawn quite like I used to.”

For this, she trained in Berlin in sleeveless shirts and body-hugging shorts, as if she wanted to visually underline her fitness again. In between, however, a smile flitted across her face, which suggests that she actually seems to be enjoying tennis again.

On the other hand, there is a reflective woman who looks at the professional circus from a distance and who is not really impressed by defeats like the one against Alexandra Sasnowitsch on Wednesday. “I used to not be able to speak to my team for the first hour after a loss because I was still in a movie. It’s better today,” she said. It is more difficult to come to terms with the fact that it may have been the last time you played in a tournament like the one in Berlin.

After the season she will decide whether to continue. At the moment, German women’s tennis can hardly do without her. The fans in Berlin loudly supported “Petko” in their matches, some even waving German flags. And yet the former ninth in the world rankings knows: “The next generation must now slowly come to potte. Because eventually it will be over.”

This season, however, there are still a few highlights for Petkovic. In Bad Homburg, she will play on her own doorstep in the coming week, followed by the highlight of Wimbledon. And she also wants to compete again in Hamburg later in the summer. “I’m feeling really good at the moment and I don’t have any antics or anything like that,” she said, indirectly nurturing the hope that the Berlin audience can look forward to Andrea Petkovic again next year.