He is preparing for Roland Garros XII. Two weeks after the Clay Festival ends, she will start for the thirteenth time the famous Wimbledon, which she won twice. “I have no ambitions,” says Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova, regarding the first two Grand Slam champions. It would be different at All England Club.
The 31-year-old Czech tennis player makes no secret of her desire to walk on her beloved lawn until the last rounds. “It’s the friendliest thing for me,” she revealed in an interview with Aktuálně.cz.
She also talked about the uncertainty surrounding the Tokyo Olympics, the unpopular Fed Cup revolution, or what she would enjoy doing after her soccer career.
Is Roland Garros approaching, how do you look to the championship and how do you feel physically and mentally at the moment? What are your ambitions in the French Open?
I have no ambitions because I know how difficult it can be to succeed. But last year I was at Roland Garros in the semifinals so I think it would be nice to repeat something similar. But I will – as usual – move from one match to the next. I am fully prepared and the most important thing for me right now is that I am in good health and nothing is holding me back in training.
The French Federation postponed the championship for a week. How did you accept this change, especially in the context of the shorter preparations for Wimbledon? Is it a major inconvenience?
It is true that we tennis players are used to planning the program over the long term, and we have deadlines for those years. Regarding Paris, I don’t see any problem, as I said, that could be in preparation for Wimbledon, which will only last two weeks this year. We’ll see how it goes in Paris, I’ll decide that more, but I definitely want to prepare for Wimbledon as best I can.
Can you describe the difficulty and characteristics of the rapid transition from mud to lawn?
It’s a big difference, the most noticeable thing is the movement. It glides on mud and on grass as it is swollen. So you have to be under your feet. The second difference is that the balls on the lawn bounce low, so you always have to be on your knees. On the pug, the balls jump high, on the contrary, slide down.
The much loved Wimbledon will definitely be a priority for you. Do you see yourself having an opportunity in London to advance to the final rounds, even though the world leader appears to be still broader and more balanced?
Wimbledon is the friendliest thing for me and I’ll try to be there until the last rounds, I think that shows. But women’s tennis, like men’s tennis, is very balanced, there are small differences between the competitors and every match can end anyway. It is not easy to win these seven matches in a row to be able to capture the trophy.
There is still uncertainty surrounding the Tokyo Olympics. The COVID-19 situation in Japan is deteriorating, and local people are increasingly protesting. Are you convinced that there will be an Olympic Games?
I think and I think the Olympics is going to be, it must have been a big blow to the organizers last year. That is why now everyone will do their best to achieve this. I don’t think it will be delayed, maybe it will not be postponed at all. But I think it will. I’m really looking forward to it.
How do you see the matches in front of the fans and without them? How important were the spectators to motivate you during the match?
It’s a big difference for me, the fans give me something extra, and it’s not in the game without them. The match without fans almost feels like training, has no atmosphere and I have to pirate and cheer more to realize that it is not training. For me, fans are needed, especially because they support and encourage experienced players in moments of tension, unlike the less experienced, who, on the other hand, can face the weight of the moment in front of the fans.
Bára Strýcová recently ended her career, Lucie Šafářová the year before last. The golden generation of Czech tennis slowly hangs their rackets on nails. Of course, fans hope you will make them happy in the stadiums for a long time to come, but sometimes you wonder how long you really want to play, or what do you want to do after your career?
It is true that the girls I played with in the Federation Cup are slowly finishing, but they are still a little older than me, which reassures me. I still enjoy tennis and my health serves me. So, I’m not planning exactly what I’m going to do after my career, I don’t know. Maybe I enjoy something related to cosmetics, a beauty salon. But we’ll see what time brings.
Recently, there have been growing voices calling for a modernization of tennis. For example, coach Patrick Muratoglu founded the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, which features shorter matches and many “attractive” features for young fans. He claims that tennis needs to change because the average number of fans is over sixty. Do you agree with this view, or do you think tennis is a traditional sport that it should be Keeps steady form?
I’ll keep tennis as it is. It is a traditional sport with a long history, where everything is tested and everyone is accustomed to it. So, in my opinion, the changes will not be good. My opinion is that there is no reason to change anything.
However, many things are already changing. Revolutions occurred in the Davis Cup and the Confederation Cup. How did you accept these changes? Are you used to old familiar contests gone?
Since we played so many crowds, I fondly remember the weeks leading up to the game, when we got back together with the squad, were exceptional. And then, of course, I’ll be absent from the team’s matches in front of the home crowd. It was the most we could have seen in the Federation Cup. It will be lost after changes now, it will be cut completely. I’m sorry.
I recently started studying Business Law at Jan Amos Comenius University. I said in December, “I hope to spend more time studying.” So how do you combine it with tennis and is it something that needs preparing for a career after tennis?
I don’t have much time to study, but I try to keep track of everything, because if I start, I would like to manage it. Maybe not for those, but we’ll see how it goes. And time will tell you what I will use in life from what I learn in college.
You are one of the faces of the “The Battle of The Teams” marathon that RunCzech organized at the end of May. Can you describe your role? How would you rate this project and what do you think it would be beneficial?
I am the proud captain of the Matuni team, and it is a great honor for me to be with such excellent athletes. Unfortunately, it won’t work out personally, since I’ll already be in Paris, so I’ll cheer from afar. This is a great innovation, thanks to the teams being created in individual sports, similar to what we have in tennis. I wonder what the atmosphere will be like and how it will be encouraged. It’s a great idea, and I’m glad to have it tested in Prague. It’s great to start exercising after the outbreak of the Coronavirus and things get back to normal.