Petra Kvitova clinched the first Grand Slam of her career after
dominating Maria Sharapova 6-3 6-4.
Despite the experimented opponent she was facing, it's no big
surprise that Kvitova won. I think she is the big champion women tennis has
been waiting for.
As I've said in the past, the new generation didn't have enough
time to come to maturity at the time when former stars were retiring in the
middle of their career (Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis) and when
the Williams sisters weren't able to be on the Tour all season long.
What I call a big champion is a pretty rare player, winning
consistently on Tour for four, five or even 10 years.
This 2011 Wimbledon winner has
everything it takes to be one and should become the next boss of the women
She's mastering all the shots required by the modern game and has
the perfect game in order to win Grand Slams, contrary to Caroline Wozniacki,
who hasn't developped enough offensive weapons on order to win a major.
Kvitova's weapons are obvious: a powerful, accurate and regular serve, a huge
forehand, a backhand getting better and better with every passing season (it
has even become another weapon) and outstanding timing which allows her to fire
such heavy shots.
A bit like Juan Martin Del Potro on the ATP Tour, she's making up
for her lack of speed by sticking to the baseline, playing deep and with power
She also reminds me of Lindsay Davenport, who won her first Grand
Slam in Wimbledon (in 1999). Of course she's
still has big room for improving physically; she has already lost a lot of
weight those last 18 months but her high risk kind of game will ask for a
constant work on her fitness on the long run.
It's not that surprising to see her triumph because of the amount
of confidence she built during recent months by winning a lot of matches with three
victories on different surfaces - Brisbane (hard outdoor), Paris (indoor) and
Madrid (clay) - and against top 10 players - Clijsters, Li Na, Sam Stosur,
Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva. All of this helped her to change her
status and to reinforce a confidence that comes naturally to her and never
I have a very revealing story about her: she played twice against
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the end of 2008 and start of 2009 at a time where I
was training the Russian. First time Nastya won after saving two match points
with a very high level and amazing mental strength from both.
They then played each other in Hobart: Pavlyuchenkova was up 6-1 3-1 and
playing brilliantly. Kvitova called her coach at this moment and raised her
level in a very astonishing way, without doubting herself for a single second
and being very calm. She ended by winning the match 1-6 7-5 6-3 and
Pavlyuchenkova couldn't be mad at herself for anything. Kvitova then won the
tournament. During this match she was already playing at a top 10 level.
And here is one of the secrets of Petra's success: she knows her abilities and
how strong she is so when she's feeling good she just feels like nothing can
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