Reem Abulleil pays tribute to Petra Kvitova's inspiring winning streak, and journey back to the top-10.
A mere 13 months ago, Petra Kvitova was unsure whether she’d be able to play tennis again.
She had surgery in her left playing hand after a home intruder attacked her with a knife causing serious damage to all five of her fingers.
The Czech two-time Wimbledon champion returned to the tour in May at the French Open last year. She won the title in just her second tournament back, on the lawns of Birmingham, and finished 2017 ranked No. 29 in the world.
Her comeback season alone was a remarkable tale of resilience, bravery, and grit.
‘Courage. Belief. Pojd.’ As the Nike t-shirts worn by her team spelt out in Paris last spring.
Fast-forward to today and Kvitova continues to inspire. With her back-to-back titles in St. Petersburg and Doha in the last three weeks, she has produced some stunning stats.
She is currently on a 13-match winning streak that saw her go 6-0 against top-10 opponents. She beat four top-10 players en route to the Doha title last week, battling back from a set down three times, and is now back in the top-10 for the first time since 2016.
The best thing about it all, is that she says she hasn’t even hit ‘Peak Petra’ form yet.
“I think no,” she told WTA Insider when asked about it. “It’s tough to play the best in these conditions that we had in Doha. Overall I found a way to win. I don’t know how but I did. I didn’t go to the volleys as much I probably should, maybe if we’re playing indoors or somewhere else. I think I moved ok. I don’t think I had too many unforced errors in the long matches. The answer is no, for sure. Hopefully, the peak will come one day.”
The most inspiring part of Kvitova’s journey is how strong she’s been in the face of such a traumatic experience. When you hear her speak during press conferences, she doesn’t dwell on the past, she doesn’t feel sorry for herself, she is choosing to counter it all by working hard and pouring her heart into her tennis.
‘Heart’. What she is doing every day in the court is all about heart. And there’s nothing more relatable or admirable than that.
The 27-year-old pulled out of Dubai after her two-title run this month and it is a break she has fully earned. She can rise even further in the rankings over the next three months and who knows… with the world No. 1 ranking up for grabs most weeks on tour, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kvitova is in contention for the top spot by year-end.
Being back on tour, healthy, and playing the game she loves, is obviously what’s driving Kvitova, not rankings and numbers. But it sure would feel good seeing that number one next to her name.