On this week's episode, World No. 3 Petra Kvitova joins the podcast to talk about comebacks and Tiger Woods, her Australian Open runner-up finish and more.
On the latest edition of the Beyond the Baseline Podcast, World No. 3 Petra Kvitova joins the podcast during her week off, in between practices in Prague, Czech Republic. Kvitova talks with Wertheim about the impact of her runner-up finish at the 2019 Australian Open; why it was important for her to take a break in mid-April; her 2019 season goals; her thoughts on Tiger Woods, his comeback and his Masters victory on Sunday; and more. Afterwards, Wertheim and Jamie Lisanti also discuss some tennis headlines and the Mailbag question of the week: What are the best tennis accounts to follow on social media?
Jon Wertheim: When you leave Melbourne like that, what are your emotions after a tournament where you play so well and you so come so close? Can you leave a major like that happy, or does it still sting a little bit?
Petra Kvitova: No, I wasn't happy to be honest. I mean, of course, I've been in the finals. But on the other hand I know how winning Grand Slams feels like and you know for me, it was a great two weeks but on the other hand, I lost in the final. It's not great for me, so I'm always kind of trying to be better after a loss like that in the final. But you know in a couple of days afterwards, I realize that how great the tournament was for me.
JW: I'm wondering: did you watch the golf? Did you watch Tiger Woods on Sunday?
PK: No unfortunately I didn't see it but I saw the end on the social media. I saw how it was, but unfortunately I didn't feel live.
JW: I was curious what your reaction was. I mean obviously the circumstances are very, very different. But as someone who has also made a comeback, what it was like for you to see that result?
PK: I really admire him for so many reasons and so many years and I feel like the Tiger Woods is golf and I'm happy for him, I'm always cheering for him when he plays something so I'm really happy for him, definitely. After 14 years—come on, it's a long, long way and I know how that feels when you're trying to come back after such things that happened in his life and in my life, too. It’s a different kind of occasion. But in the end of the day, there is a comeback. So its’ great that he didn’t give up, which is the best thing. It’s great.
JW: Let me ask you: the big story in women’s tennis right now is that we are at 18 tournaments now with 18 different winners. Why do you think that is? What's going on?
PK: Well I think that it's not only in our case. When we are not counting Roger—
JW: Yeah right, on the men's side too.
PK: On the men’s side too. So I think that we are just showing that you know everybody can just beat everyone. The tennis is very open and everybody's working hard. So there are really small differences between those players, which I think is very nice, you are not bored by the sport as a fan, you are seeing new faces which is nice, I think.
JW: Would you agree with this: there seems to be more variety now than maybe five years ago? That you may have all of these different winners and it's not predictable—you play nothing like Barty and Sabalenka plays nothing like Kerber. It seems like you're seeing more variety on the other side of the net. Would you agree with that?
PK: Actually I don't think so because we’ve seen this ability for so many years already. We are not just showing up right now. So I think I'm playing a similar game as Sabalenka and I’m on the tour for longer. I don’t think it is because of it. Simona Halep is playing a different game as well. I don’t think it’s just starting now, no. different game as well so I don't think it is just right now.
JW: I was gonna ask you about that. It occurred to me you're sort of halfway between Andreescu and Venus—you're smack in the middle of your career. What's been the biggest change since you've come about? How's the sport changed even since you won Wimbledon in 2011?
PK: I think the sport changed for sure. I think it's mentally and physically tougher than it was before. Or I just realized it a bit more now that I'm a little bit older and maybe do have those experiences. But when I was younger you know I just played for the fearless and I just didn't care about nothing. I just went on the court and didn’t think about who was playing on the on the other side. But you know now, I think you need to know a little about the opponent as well and kind of play a little bit with the mind—like the tactical way. And that's what I feel that is change. Everybody knows how to play forehand and backhand and serve and whatever, but in those important points when you have a breakpoint on game point you just need to really play your best in that important point. You know we are seeing so many comebacks in the match, when you are down 5-2 or whatever and you came back and win the match. Which is good for the sport, because you never know until the last point who is going to win.