Andrea Petkovic of Germany aknowledges the spectators after defeating Kristina Mladenovic of France during their third session women's singles match on day two of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 2, 2017. / AFP / TONY ASHBY / --IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-- (Photo credit should read TONY ASHBY/AFP/Getty Images)

Joel Drucker: Andrea Petkovic Takes Her Peers to School

Yesterday, we had Andrea Petkovic take a few minutes of time at the Volvo Car Open to assess four great writers and how each of their styles might play out on the tennis court. Today, we turn the tables – the quest to transform racquet into pen. Herein, Petkovic takes four players who’ve each been ranked number one in the world and ponders their literary counterparts.

Roger Federer

The Skinny

Rise and fall of Roger Empire followed by swift trek through Middle Ages. Renaissance now in full bloom.

Petkovic analysis

Compares him to her fellow German, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), the epic and lyrical writer known to the world strictly on a last-name basis. Like Goethe, said Petkovic, Federer has it all: “beauty, style, substance.”

Tennis-hinting quote from Goethe

“The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.”

Serena Williams

The Skinny

A career that has spanned the ages, from before birth, through the antiquity of precocity, to the modern era and beyond.

Petkovic analysis

“Serena is like a Greek tragedy. That’s what I love about her. With her, there is substance and meaning and value. Everything matters so much to her. It’s a tragedy but it’s also one that ends happy.”

Greek goddess role model

Nike: goddess of victory – (and Serena’s apparel-footwear sponsor)

Venus Williams

The Skinny

Her own brand of emphatic elegance. Like the Brontes (“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily), Venus is also a member of a significant sister dynasty.

Petkovic analysis

Venus’ literary parallel is Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), the radical French writer who in 1949 authored the landmark book, “The Second Sex,” a work that in large part set the stage for contemporary feminism. According to Petkovic, “like de Beauvoir, Venus cares about women’s rights – and always does it in a way that’s grand and classy, but never loud.”

Tennis-hinting quote from de Beauvoir

“Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself.”

Angelique Kerber

The Skinny

While for many the rewards come early, for Petkovic’s fellow German and longstanding friend, they came late – and that has made all the difference.

Petkovic analysis

Believes Kerber akin to Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), the Russian novelist who explored the depths of the human soul in such classics as “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov.” Said Petkovic, “There’s this aspect of suffering, which happens in his stories to his characters. But in the end, they come out bigger. This is what happened with Angie. She came out big last year.”

Tennis-hinting quote from Dostoevsky

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”

Read more articles by Joel Drucker

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