By Bill Simons
LONDON—As much as any active player, Germany’s sometimes delightful, sometimes deep Andrea Petkovic takes passionate interest in matters beyond the court. Plus last year, she had a huge, career-boosting win at Charleston’s Family Circle Cup. Her father went to Clemson. She loves South Carolina, and she just played Shelby Rogers, who lives in Charleston.
With that in mind, Inside Tennis asked the German to reflect on the recent tragedy in Charleston.
She offered this eloquent response:
“I was definitely shocked and moved by what happened. It’s been a rough patch for Charleston in the past month. It’s a bigger issue than I have words for and bigger than I can probably talk about.
“But I just felt more moved by it and shocked than normally, just because I feel very close to South Carolina and always felt very welcomed when I was there.
“You know, sometimes those things happen in a row in one place. It’s amazing [when] that happens … [I’m] just very, very shocked and very moved. I felt very connected to everything that happened there. Obviously, my playing [South Carolinian] Shelby Rogers [who Petkovic beat 6-0, 6-0 in the first round] just reminded me of everything.
“It’s definitely been an issue in our family, and we talked about it. My dad was very shocked….
“I felt the reactions of the families and the victims—well, they just really chose the right path. It made South Carolina probably stronger than before, and that’s really beautiful to see. I don’t know if I was in that position if I would have had the strength to react in that way. That’s more admirable and amazing to see.”
We then asked Andrea to talk about the paradox of having so many connections with so many wonderful people in a place where such a devastating thing occurred.
Petkovic poignantly replied that “with everything in life, beauty and ugliness lie so close to each other, and love and hate lie very close to each other. Charleston is such a beautiful place. Sometimes the ugliest things happen in the most beautiful places.”