EXCLUSIVE: Petra Kvitova Talks Madrid Run, Idols And Opposition To Davis Cup Change
The world No.10 spoke with Ubitennis following her third round win at the Madrid Open
MADRID: It was a tough day at the office for Petra Kvitova at the Madrid Open, but once again she found a way to shine a positive light on the situation.
The two-time Wimbledon champion continued her winning run on the clay with a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3, win over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. A player who has recently scored wins over Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber and Kristina Mladenovic. It was a frustrating encounter for the Czech, who was a break up in the first set before losing it after almost an hour of play. Nevertheless, she managed to turn around her fortunes. Coming through after more than two hours of play.
“It was a pretty tough match today. I think that I was still the better player, but still I lost in the first set tiebreaker. Which is not very easy to come back and fight after one hour.” Kvitova said during an interview with Ubitennis.net.
“I’m pretty proud with how I handled the second set. That I didn’t give up. I started to play and serve a little bit better.
“I think we (both) played good tennis today.“
Spending longer than required on the court is not ideal, but there can be a silver lining to those marathon matches. For her it concerns her confidence. Kvitova saved nine out of 11 break points she faced in the match.
“I can take a lot of positives from the match because in the third set I was fighting many times. I think it is very important for the confidence.” She said.
The journey back to the top
It has been almost 12 months since Kvitova returned to the tour. In December 2016 an intruder broke into her apartment. Armed with a knife, a struggle between Kvitova and the individual nearly caused the end of her career. She suffered severe damaged to her left hand, which she uses to play tennis with. She underwent nearly four hours of surgery to help repair the damage to her nerves. Shortly after, she was warned that she may never return to the sport again.
Despite the devastating news, Kvitova battled back against the odds. Returning to competitive tennis at last year’s French Open. Since then she has claimed four WTA titles, including three this year alone. In February she returned back into the top 10. The first time she had done so in almost 20 months.
Kvitova has the luxury of being one of the most popular players on the tour. Last year’s many of her rivals welcomed her return. Monica Puig once described her as a ‘truly amazing person’ and Bethanie Mattek-Sands has labelled her as an ‘inspiration.’
Whilst Kvitova inspires some of her rivals. The question is do any of them inspire her?
“Not really, actually, no.” She said in a light-hearted manner.
“When I was young it was Martina Navratilova. A lefty from the Czech republic, but I don’t have any player (now) to look up to.”
It is not the first time she has talked about Navratilova, who has won 59 grand slam titles in both singles and doubles. During the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, she discussed her delight of being supported by the 61-year-old.
Fed Cup pride
One of Kvitova’s proudest moments during her career has been in the Fed Cup. So far she has participated in 22 ties, winning 30 out of 41 matches. She has already featured in five finals of the team event.
“Being in the Fed Cup team is a privilege for us. We have a great team and a great spirit as well.” She said.
The Fed Cup faces possible changes in the future, although it is unclear as to what they may be. On the men’s circuit, the ITF has launched a plan to revamp the Davis Cup. Turning the event into a weeklong tournament located in the same location. The proposal is yet to be approved, but Kvitova didn’t hold back in expressing her opposition.
“I am not really for that. I would like to see no changes.” She said about hosting team events in neutral venues.
“I think the Fed Cup is special because we play home and away. So that’s what makes the Fed Cup special for us.”
The President of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, has previously hinted that plans will be put forward to expand the size of the world group. Although there is currently no talk about removing home and away ties.
No time to rest
As Kvitova speaks about the Fed Cup, at the back of her mind is her next match. On Thursday she will take on Daria Kasatkina in the Madrid quarter-finals. The Russian World No.15 edged out home favourite Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in her third round match. It will be the first meeting between the two on the tour.
“She’s plays more technically with the spin, the slice and with the kick on her serve. I have practice with her and she is a pretty demanding player.” Kvitova said of her next opponent.
Playing on the tour for a third consecutive week, some wonder if Kvitova may adjust her schedule ahead of the French Open. If she was to, the easiest option would be to skip next week’s Italian Open. Although at the moment, the signs are good for her.
“I’m not really sure (about my plans). I’m still in the tournament so I am not looking too far ahead. I am happy to be still here and playing. My body is fine. That’s important.” She stated.
Kvitova will take on Kasatkina at 21:30 local time on Thursday.