Comeback queen Kvitova aims to soar at Wimbledon

Kvitova is set to make a strong comeback to Wimbledon and aim for a third title here, after putting up a strong performance to win the Eastbourne Open.

Kvitova will look to capitalise on Serena Williams' absence and look to secure her third Wimbledon title.   -  AFP

After making a remarkable comeback from a knife injury that kept her out of action for six months, two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, looks to give it her best shot. She has been in fine form of late and recently clinched the Eastbourne tournament.  

 

Q. How is the feeling of being back here? How do you feel when you come to Wimbledon, given that it is a place where you've had a lot of success?

I feel great here. It feels like my second home, so I can't complain. It always brings me lot of nice memories.

I hit well on grass and the grass is perfect as always.
The weather, is still okay, so that's good as well.

Q. When Serena Williams is not playing a tournament, which is the case now, what is the effect on who's going to win?

Well, I think we still do have great players in the draw, even (though) Serena is not playing.
I think (there are) a few favorites, but it's very open.
 

Q. Are you surprised at all that you've already won a title and that you've come back to that level at this point in time? You talked about how you're not quite where you were. How far off do you think you are from being 100%?

Yes, I was very surprised. I'm still surprised (at) how I played in the second event after my comeback.

I think the grass always gives me extra confidence. I know I can play well on it. Through the tournament, I felt like I played better and better in every round, which is always good sign.

The second question, it's tough to say the percentage, of what level  my game is at. As I said, in Birmingham (my game) was improving. You never know how you going to wake up on the next morning. So I will see how I wake up on Monday.

My first goal is to go (and) try to play my best in the first round. I think I still have things to improve, which I really wanted to do, to be back at the top level.

Q. Do you have a different attitude now following your comeback to competitive tennis? You spoke about the support you got from the locker room and that a lot of players came up to you and spoke to you encouragingly. Why is that important? What does it mean to you?

I think I am (a) little different on the court and off the court, too. I think I see life and tennis from a slightly different angle than before. Earlier, I was very nervous before every match. Now I see that I shouldn't be. There (are) more important things in life that should be more important than just tennis.

On the other hand, I found out how (much) I missed tennis through the period I didn't play. It was difficult to watch the girls play on TV, (while) I sat on the sofa with my hand in a splint. I find out how (much) I love this sport.

I still do have the passion, which I always had. That's most important for me, to have the passion, because I didn't know how things would be when I came back.

The support from the girls was amazing. I have to say I was a bit surprised (with) how the girls behaved and (are) still behaving with me. Sometimes you feel if it's honest or not. I really do feel that most of it is very honest, (with them) saying that they are really happy to see me back. It's very nice. I'm glad that I'm (a) part of the tennis family.

Q. Do you feel like you're playing more offensively than earlier? It seemed that way, watching you in Birmingham.

I think all my career I have (had) to play very offensively. There was a time when I didn't play (offensively), and I didn't play well.

I'm not sure if it is the result of what happened, but I feel a bit fearless. I found out what's important and what was not. Sometimes I'm thinking on the court that I've already won the biggest fight, and if I fight in the match, (it) doesn't matter if I win the last point or lose, but (I will) still be happy to play.

Q. What are your thoughts on your first-round opponent, Larsson?

I think I played Johanna last year (at) Indian Wells. She's got a very good serve and a big forehand. On the backhand, I think she has a good touch on the slice and dropshots.

She plays (a) little different compared to other girls, (a) little bit like men tennis, if I can say. That will be the key probably, just to keep my serve and try to break her.

Q. Pliskova, a Fed Cup teammate of yours, just won the Eastbourne tournament and has the chance of becoming No. 1 at Wimbledon. Your thoughts on her rise and what it would mean for Czech tennis to get a No. 1?

I think it's good news. I won Birmingham, she won Eastbourne. Who knows who (is) going to win here. (smiles)

I think it's great, for sure. She's playing great and is in great form. It will be interesting ( to see) how she's going (to perform) here.

Q. You said when you were sitting on the couch at home, you realized you still had the passion, you still loved the game. What about memories of what you've done here at Wimbledon? What degree were those in your mind when you weren't playing? What are your thoughts now that you're back?
 

When I was sitting on the couch (and) watching TV, I didn't really think about Wimbledon. I just thought about the tennis as a sport, as a game, which I played since I (was) four. I played (it) as a hobby. I liked it so much, (that) I started to play professionally. I still have the love for the sport, which I knew I had before the December (incident) happened.

It wasn't my fault that I couldn't play and that motivated me even more to come back and play.

When the time (came), about the end of March, I held my racquet for the first time and thought about how I would love to be back in Wimbledon.

It's a big thing that I'm here. I played in Paris, but it was my dream to come back to Wimbledon.

Q. You mentioned you're still surprised you won Birmingham. Now that you have won it, did you have high expectations of yourself, coming to Wimbledon?

Not really, I don't think it raised my expectations (on) coming to Wimbledon. I didn't play for six months, which is a long time. I've been playing okay in the last month, but I'm still missing matches.

I'm happy that I (played) five matches in Birmingham, (it) will definitely help. Some people are saying that I'm one of the favorites of the tournament even (though) I didn't play (for)five to six months. It just sounds weird.

I don't know what I should think about. As I said, it was my dream to come here to play, that was the goal of my recovery. Now that I'm here, I will, hopefully (if) nothing happens, stand on the court and play again here in my favorite place.

Q. Is there anything, aside from your two championships here, that makes Wimbledon a special tournament  for you?

It is not about the memories here. I have to say the first tournament I saw on the TV was Wimbledon, because of Martina Navratilova. Since then, it's (been) one of the best.
 

There's always a lot of history here. I like the rules, (I like) playing in all-whites. I like renting a house with the team. It feels like a home and family. I think it's a few things which I really like, if I'm not counting grass and my trophies here.

I really feel very comfortable here. It's quiet and it's a relaxed place. That's how my personality is, as well. That's probably why it's feeling so good here.

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