Andrea Petkovic New Champion at Family Circle Cup

By Jane Voigt

Daniel Island, April 6, 2014 -- Andrea Petkovic drove the ball with precious and determination today, as she won her first Family Circle Cup championship. The German is the second lowest seeded player at No. 14 to win this title since her countrywoman Sabine Lisicki in 2009.

This is Petkovic's third WTA Career title.

"In the beginning I was just overwhelmed," she told the press. "Now, I'm just much more grateful and I can appreciate it much more than before."

FCCAPetkovicPhotoFinalApril62014

Andrea Petkovic smiles wide for the camera after defeating Jana Cepelova in the finals of Family Circle Cup, Sunday, April 6. Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com

Petkovic defeated 20-year-old Jana Cepelova 75 62 in a little over an hour. 

Cepelova endeared herself to fans, the tournament and the city of Charleston by demonstrating a youthful spirit that lifted women's tennis to new heights and hopes. Her run here, which began with a defeat of Serena Williams, could have been short lived given the proclivity of big wins to be followed by big losses. And, she did it all by herself without coach, family or friends on hand.

"I'm so impressed she did this all by herself, no coach, no family," Petkovic said. 

"Before the tournament is somebody tell me you will [be] in final, I cannot believe them," Jana said. "But now, you know, I'm a little bit upset, but maybe tomorrow everything okay. It was a really nice week, really nice tournament. I am happy for that."

Attendance figures for the week confirmed Charleston's love and gratitude to this 43-year-old tournament, which is the longest running women's tournament in the world. Just under 88,000 people came through the gates, which is the highest number since 2008. 

Down The Tee caught up with Mayor Joe Reily before play got underway. We wanted to know his thoughts about Family Circle Cup especially with such a leap in attendance.

"It's a huge asset," he began. "Among other things it has lifted the game of tennis in our community immeasurably, of course, and the economic benefit of having this world-class event televised around the world, and to have this beautiful facility is a wonderful opportunity for our residences to the best women tennis players in the world."

Although the final may not have been the best of the week, it was thrilling to see two unlikely finalists playing their hearts out. Petkovic is currently ranked No. 40 and Cepelova is ranked No. 78. However, Petkovic will reach the top 30 tomorrow; and, Cepelova will rise to a new career high of No.50. Petkovic was ranked outside the top 175 a year ago. Her ranking had dropped due to injuries.

Petkovic has upped the ante throughout her game since. Her strategies are clear, her groundstrokes land deep, and she shows less emotion on court than in the past when tempestuous moments would draw her mind away from the court. And she's having fun!

"I've wanted to get back to why I started playing tennis because I had fun playing it and because I love the sport," she said. "I think it's the most amazing sport out there, for me. It's beautiful."

A charmer on and off court, Petkovic rejuvenated her popular victory dance before the award presentation. She plans to continue her celebration on board a flight to Germany. It has been nine weeks since she's been home. 

"That's the best celebration ever because I can't wait to get home; it's been nine weeks," she began. "I'm going to have champagne and I don't even drink champagne. I'm just going to have it for the heck of it in the airplane. I'm going to get drunk. I never got drunk on the airplane. That's what I'm going to do. And, I'm going to walk around and dance with the cabin attendants. That's what I'm going to do."

Let the celebrations begin. Congratulations Andrea Petkovic! You make us all smile. 

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013