Petra Kvitova in the first round of the WTA Mutua Madrid Open, 2018
Petra Kvitova in the first round of the WTA Mutua Madrid Open, 2018 | (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Kvitova on her emotional win in Prague as the two-time Madrid champion builds up steam on the clay

By Ros Satar, in Madrid

  • Two-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova was back in action after her emotional win in Prague
  • She had a little time to reflect on a packed weekend and what it meant to her since the horrific knife in December 2016.
MADRID, SPAIN – Two-time Madrid champion Petra Kvitova barely had time to kick the clay off her Prague-title winning shoes before she was back on court for her first round at the Mutua Madrid Open.


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An emotional return

(c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

We have seen glimpses of the emotion that hides behind the steel blue eyes of two-time Wimbledon champion and double Madrid champion Petra Kvitova in the 12 months since her comeback at last year’s Roland Garros following the horrific knife attack that could have ended her career.

In fact, it was at this very tournament that she made a winning return having opted to take a break earlier in the year citing ‘burnout’ and skipping the spring hard court swing. At the time it earned the admiration of one of her defeated opponents Serena Williams who said she felt it had taken courage to take that time out and not be afraid of the consequences to her ranking.

When she came back that time, she realised how much she had missed the routine (if not the grind) of being on court, but those feelings were intensified when she made her return just five months after an intruder in her home threatened her with a knife and she sustained career threatening injuries to her left hand.

Petra Kvitova – 2017 Roland Garros (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

There were tears when she took to Court Philippe Chatrier, there were tears when she won the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, and there were many tears as she won the Prague title, and gave a victory speech on home soil, in her native tongue.

She explained: “I didn’t really prepare anything, it just came to my mind in the warm-up. I knew my doctors were coming and many people and suddenly when I got a microphone I just started to speak, and it came to my mind and I couldn’t stop crying, it was challenging as well. I’m happy that I did it in a way.

“It was my first tournament at home after everything, playing at home is pretty special. My parents were there, they spent time with me being in the same apartment for the whole week. Without many many years we spent all week together. We didn’t argue or anything!”

As well as regaling us with stories of how she did not need to even get up to get water (her mother did everything for her that week), we got a glimpse of how the players at the top of the tree get about. While Mihaela Buzarnescu played a long semi-final, the doubles and the singles, before being put on court in the early afternoon the next day (having almost missed her connection to Madrid), Kvitova boarded a private plane and arrived relatively refreshed!

Kvitova continued: “It was pretty tiring [on Saturday] to play the final at 2.15. After that there was a lot of things to do with the press and the Czech people and whatever but we were lucky we got a private plane, so we were here last night at 9pm probably. I slept ok as well.

“For [Buzarnescu] it’s a little bit different. She played two and half [hours] in the semis, she played final of the doubles. She has to be (laughs) really exhausted, I can’t imagine. Obviously with her game, she really has to move and work for the points, it’s a little bit tough as well, but I’m happy I did it in an hour for sure. I didn’t want to spend too much time there today.”

Kvitova’s quarter got a little easier with the early departure of Venus Williams, and she is seeded to face Garbiñe Muguruza in the quarter-final but the Spaniard has somehow struggled on home soil in recent runs out at this tournament.

Kvitova will expect to play again on Tuesday.