Re: Philipp Petzschner
Here is a "translation" of the first part (my English is too limited, so I have to simplify sometimes):
Power comeback after the break
By the age of 17 he was seen as the biggest talent in German tennis since Nicolas Kiefer. But it took him a long time to manage the transition into men’s tennis. Philipp Petzschner finally showed this year what he is able of at the US Open and in Davis Cup. His goal is to play for Germany in singles too.
The man has big goals. And small ones. His goal for tonight is to win at poker. He’ll meet his training partners in the players hotel after dinner. “Five euros stake”, he says, “the winner takes it all”. Gambling has been a sensitive issue lately with the betting scandals, but “Petzsche”, like his friends and fellow players call him, likes gambling, casinos and his Playstation. It fits his image. He had a reputation for being a rebel, a “wild” guy.
Home game in Eckental
We’re in the gym of the “House of Sports”, a tennis and leisure center in Eckental, not far from Nuremberg. It’s the venue of the “Bauer Watertechnology-Cup“, a Challenger tournament with a money prize of 25 000 dollars. Petzschner, the Davis Cup rookie of Moscow and one of the newcomers of 2007, belongs to the stars of the event. Because his home town (Bayreuth) is just 15 minutes away by car and many friends of his are attending the tournament. And also because his results have thrust him into the headlines in the past few months. At the US Open, he played a great second-round match against Tommy Haas as a qualifier. Haas’ comment after the match: “He should be ranked much higher, really.” Petzschner’s performance during the Davis Cup semi-final in September against Russia, when he “carried” his injured doubles partner Alexander Waske through the match and let Germany dream of a possible final, already is a legend.
Back to the small stage in Eckental, with a few hundreds of people sitting in the stands. Too small for somebody who has experienced the big events? “No no”, Petzschner says, his baseball cap pulled tight over his eyes, “during my first match in New York this year there were even less people watching than here”. And when he is focused, the crowd isn’t important anyway. He’s concentrated on himself only.
He speaks quietly, expresses himself well, talks about him, his family, his first tennis club, the TC Fichtelgebirge built up by his father Uwe, a tennis trainer, his early successes. By the age of 17 he was European champion, stood in the juniors semi-final in Wimbledon. A few months later, he was world number 8 in the juniors ranking. The biggest talent in German tennis since Nicolas Kiefer and Daniel Elsner.
A talent he wasted according to many. People say he was arrogant and didn’t even bother to pick up the balls in training. "I see things differently", Petzschner says, "but I’m not a guy you can press into a given pattern. I’ve made early decisions which were right in my opinion." For example when he decided to warm up with a girl before the semi-final of Wimbledon. Petzschner smiles when he tells the story. Everybody thought he was crazy, not serious enough. Which was probably true, he admits it today. But it also was too easy. Other people had to work hard for things he got with ease.
The rise with Patrik Kühnen
During a football session in Halle five years ago, Roger Federer said to him: "So, you’re the guy supposedly like me: with a hell of a talent and crazy about football". A few years later, Federer was the number one. And Petzschner? He was "learning" with Patrik Kühnen, B-trainer at the time. Kühnen who "kept a lose rein" on him told him: "I just want you to fight until the end during the two hours we spend on the court." Petzschner means that’s exactly the sort of things he needs to hear. With Kühnen he achieved the feat of moving in a very short time from the 3400th to the 300th spot in the rankings. For his first showing in Metz in 2003 he reached the quarters. "As the youngest German since Tommy Haas", he remarks.
Last edited by Truc; 09-24-2008 at 10:55 AM.