So back before Andrea Petkovic was even a glimmer in the Sony Ericsson Open's eye, I got to do a quick one-on-one interview with her. The funny thing is that it was a one-on-one interview because no one else was there. That's not true. A young woman who worked for the tournament website was there to do a "Getting to Know" interview with her. But it was just the two of us.
[A brief aside because I get asked about how pressers happen quite a bit:
Generally speaking, if a request is made for a top 10 player the player has to show up. If there are enough requests then the presser happens in the main press conference room. If there are only a few, you get a small interview room where you're literally sitting in chairs. For me, that can either be really cool and create a more conversational tone (Petko!) or really awkward, especially when you only have one or two questions for the player (uh...sorry about that one, Sam). So if you go and look for pressers and you don't see a presser from say Sam or Fran, it's because it wasn't requested or it happened in the small interview room where there is no transcribing service (I almost called them "court reporters", whoops).
Every time I explain this to fans they're shocked. "Who wouldn't want to talk to Fran??? She's such a great interview!!!" Well, when your mandate is to cover American players, Caro, and Masha, and you know you're not going to get any ink for a story about Fran's amazingness, you're probably not going to "waste your time" requesting the presser. Them's just the facts of life, tennis fans. This is why it's particularly helpful to the tours to have bloggers on site. We actually don't want to talk to Caro. We want to talk to Frank, Aga, Nails, etc. Of course, I say "we" when it actually doesn't apply to me. You see, in order for me to see what's going on on the outer courts and to pap the practice courts, I actually have to be outside of the press room. So I usually miss all the press conferences. But if I'm not out there, I definitely try to make as many small room pressers as possible. They're really fun.]
But back to Petko.
I wasn't even sure the interview would happen. Petko had just spent a brutal day on court, beating Jamie Hampton in the early afternoon and then teaming up with Ana for their historic first win as Ivanorazzi. She was running a good 10 minutes late. When she finally showed up with that wide grin, I found out why. She had fallen asleep on the massage table.
As most of us know, Petko is the bomb when it comes to music. Ask all the WTA ladies who their favorite artists are and they're much more likely to reel off artists and songs that make me want to punch the radio. But not Petko. She's tends to reel off artists that aren't only on my iPod, but are some of my favorite bands.
So I came armed with my hipster notebook prepared to ask Petko one question and one question only: As a professional athlete who is constantly traveling from country to country week to week, how the heck do you keep up with the ever-changing world of music? I mean, I'm unemployed and I blog from the couch and I spend 18 hours a day on the internet (pathetic, I know) and *I* still have problems finding the time to find new music to inspire me. So how does a traveling tennis professional do it? Pretty much how the rest of us do it: Rely on other people.
"I've started to suck. All my friends are really big into music and I was the one when I was at home spending hours just searching through the internet looking for new bands, watching shows on MTV that are being shown at 2am because no one wants to see it except Petko, so that was me. Then when I started playing and I developed to be more professional, I lost the time and I lost track. So now I'm rediscovering bands that 5 years ago they were in. But I don't really care. I just listen to what I like. The good thing is when I get back together with my friends they give me mixed tape CDs and then I'm a little bit back in because only one or two songs make me realize there's a new band. But it's hard. Every day you could listen to 1000 new songs and I just don't have the time."
So the obvious follow-up question: If you could curate a music festival, who would your five headlining bands be?
"I would pick Radiohead, Bloc Party, I haven't seen Radiohead live so this is definitely something I would die for. Mark Ronson, and I hope with this good looking singer he has sometimes. I think it's the Phantom Planet singer he has sometimes for guest appearances. I love Miike Snow. And Bright Eyes. I would probably be the only one because it's so different. You and me would be the only ones."
BEST PRIVATE CONCERT, EVER!