Two players share the honour of being top of the leader board for holding the highest number of Madrid Open titles. Petra Kvitova (Bílovec, Czech Republic; 1990), last year’s champion, is one of them. Before beginning the defence of her title on the Madrid clay, the Czech sits down with The Magazine to look back at her wins and assess her career.
What are your thoughts on winning in Madrid last year?
It was a great tournament for me and I really didn’t expect to get through to compete for the trophy. It was definitely a difficult tournament, as the first two rounds were three setters. Also playing Serena in the semi-final I think I played really good, so I have great memories.
You have won twice in Madrid and share the record with Serena Williams. What is that makes Madrid so special for Petra Kvitova?
Well I love the conditions over there, definitely, with the altitude and as the balls are flying so heavy. With my aggressive game this really pays off. I think this really helps and the clay is very good for me as well, so I think that everything you find there really helps me.
Your biggest wins have been at Wimbledon, playing on grass. How do you explain your success on the Caja Magica clay?
One reason is that the altitude really helps the players who are playing fast and aggressively. The balls really fly and I think that the players who are just pushing the ball don’t really have a chance to finish the ball. As I said, I think this really helps my game especially my serve. It is always good to have these kinds of weapons.
What would it mean for you to defend the title in Madrid?
It would be something huge for me for sure because it is a big tournament and I have always wanted to do well. If I were to defend the title in Madrid it would be a really great result for me.
Carla Suárez and Garbiñe Muguruza are the best examples of Spanish women’s tennis at the moment. What do you think of them and how far do you think they can get?
I think that Carla is really showing great tennis. She was in the final in Miami last year and she then got into the top 10. She is really playing a great game and I think she can definitely stay in the top 10. I think that Garbiñe had a great season last year and to be in the final at Wimbledon is really something-it is a huge result for her. She is young and has some more years to come.
If you could “steal” something from Madrid and take it to Bílovec, what would it be?
I think I would like to take the history from Madrid. I have been to the art museum there, it was very nice. I’d steal something like that.
What are the most important matches of your career?
Definitely the finals of Wimbledon which I won with Maria (Sharapova) and Eugenie (Bouchard). Those years were the most important.
Last year the winner of the Mutua Madrid Open U16 tournament, Marina Bassols, got up on the podium with you to receive her trophy. What did you say to her and what would you say to all those young Spanish players who would like to be like Suárez or Muguruza?
I think that they should have a dream and really strive for it. I think that hard work is really important for them. I think if you really love tennis and playing the game, it is just about putting in the time to get really good. It is nice that they have idols and it is nice to get somewhere they really want to be and I wish them good luck with that.
Do you believe that the WTA rule of permitting the coach to go onto the court, which has been in place for a number of years now, is beneficial for the players?
Right now it is not beneficial for me as I do not have a coach but sometimes it has helped me for sure. Sometimes when you are in the fight and in the game, you are generally not seeing things as the coaches are seeing them from the outside, so they can really have a good opinion.
Service Game with Kvitova:
15-0: Petra is afraid of…..? Spiders!
30-0: Never says no to…..? My coach when on the court
40-0 :If you had not been a player you would have been…? A student but I don’t know what kind of student!
Game: When you leave the court you like to be….? With my friends and family