Dubai: Back in 2011, when she won Wimbledon as a 20-year-old and followed it up by winning the WTA Tour Championships, she was hailed as a new star on the women’s tennis horizon. She was named WTA Player of the Year and ITF Women’s World Champion and finished the year as No. 2 in the world. Then, early on in 2012, she even had the chance to go to No. 1 if she had defended her Brisbane International title, but as Czech Petra Kvitova tells XPRESS in an exclusive interview during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, it’s not rankings but improving her game that matters to her.
“I remember at that time, we were like six players so close to No. 1. But honestly I was not thinking about it. For me, it was more important to improve my game,” she said.
The current World No. 8 did have a quieter 2012 by the standards she set in 2011, but says she didn’t do too badly either, having won two titles and reaching the semis at the Australian and French Opens.
“Of course, I mean 2011 was an amazing year for me and it’s always tough to repeat. I played a lot of excellent tennis. I did quite well in 2012 too. I think I did quite well. I did not defend my title but it was a good season for me,” she said.
This year though hasn’t been that great for Kvitova, as she has only won the Hopman Cup and that’s in addition to the two Fed Cup titles she has won in the past two years. But as much as she likes playing for her country, it’s not on top of her priority list, she says.
“No, I can’t say this, I mean it was the first time I played with Tomas [Berdych] in Hopman Cup. It was special to win the trophy. Then winning Fed Cup in 2011, 2012 was also great. I love to play Fed Cup, we have a good team and we are enjoying it,” she said.
So, how does she rate her chances of winning the title in Dubai?
“Well I mean, it’s like a small Grand Slam. Everybody is playing there, so I can’t say that I have any chance I will win. I play my best I can. Hopefully I can still improve and playing here will be fun,“ she said.
And talking of improvement, Kvitova believes while she has gotten better on her serve, her movement still needs to be looked at.
“I am working on everything, my serve is improving, I am now trying to serve much better and much faster. My movement and all of my tennis game can improve though,” she said.
By winning Wimbledon in 2011, she became the first Grand Slam champion born in the 1990s She also became the third player to win the WTA Championships in her first attempt
She has won nine titles on the WTA Tour so far