Petra Kvitová preparing for season’s first Grand Slam 

Petra Kvitová, photo: Peter Menzel, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The much-anticipated 2021 tennis season has got underway in Australia with a week of tune-up tournaments leading up to the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam of the year is due to kick off next Monday, with eleven Czech players scheduled to appear in the event, including two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitová.

The Australian Open, due to kick off in Melbourne on February 8, is the biggest sports event to take place since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The first Grand Slam of the year was delayed by three weeks to allow for the two-week quarantine and a week of warm-up tournaments.

Over 70 tennis players who arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open were forced to quarantine in their hotels for a fortnight, including Barbora Strýcová, Kateřina Siniaková and Tomáš Macháč.

The two-time Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitová was lucky to escape the quarantine and was able to train for five hours a day. Speaking to Czech Radio’s news channel Radiožurnál, she said she enjoyed getting a taste of life as it was before the coronavirus:

“So far, everything feels so new and at the same time, it is exactly as it used to be in the past. It is a strange feeling. I think we will quickly get used to it and it will be difficult to give it up again.”

With the exception of 2017, when she sustained a career-threatening injury to her hand, Petra Kvitová had not experienced such a long break in her professional career:

“I think this was the longest training period in my entire career. It is strange, because the season always used to be too long with just a short time left for training. Now, it is the other way round.

“I hope I will be able to capitalize on that. I have done a lot of work and the training in Dubai was really physically demanding. Now it is more about my head, about the nerves and the adrenalin in the matches.”

Despite the changes to her routine caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the 30-year-old World No. 9 says the current situation could also have a positive impact on her career:

“It is difficult to decide during the season whether to skip a tournament and focus only on certain events. This time, I was forced to make this decision and I think it was good. I think it has certain advantages concerning my body and my age, and even my mind. I think I am able to prepare for a big event even without playing lots of smaller tournaments.”

Three Czech female players have already advanced in the Australian Open tune-up tournaments, which got underway in Melbourne on Monday morning. Karolína Plíšková and Markéta Vondroušová passed through to the third round of the Yarra Valley Classis while Karolína Muchová secured a victory in her tournament debut in the Gippsland Trophy.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Jaroslav Plašil
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