Petra Kvitova made a new friend at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, while Day 1 of the new WTA season took place with the first wave of qualifying matches for the Brisbane International.
WTA Staff

BRISBANE, Australia - Everyone remembers Petra Kvitova's breakthrough season in 2011, winning six WTA titles - including Wimbledon - and making it all the way to No.2 in the world by year's end, within a whisker of No.1. But it's not as easy to remember where that all began - it was here in Brisbane, which is where the Czech is now, primed for another good showing at the Premier-level tournament.

While the first day of play of the 2013 season was underway, Kvitova remembered that 2011 run.

"I love being here in Australia, and especially in Brisbane - I have so many great memories from winning here in 2011," Kvitova said. "It's a great tournament, and that was the beginning of a great season."

How did Kvitova change up her preparations for the 2013 season? "Before I was going somewhere else to do fitness training in high altitude, but this year we decided to train at home in Prostejov in the Czech Republic," she said. "I didn't do anything really different with my tennis training, but it was really nice to be able to train and stay at home, and it was a good change from what I'd done previously.

"The draw here in Brisbane is going to be pretty tough - there are eight of the Top 10 players playing here. Almost everybody is playing here because they want to have the best preparation for Melbourne and they know this is a great event. It's great for us - we will get some good matches in and see how everyone is playing going into Melbourne. And it's also great for the tournament and the fans!"

The Czech also took some time out on Friday to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where the above photograph was taken. "It was very nice - it was actually the first time I held a koala," Kvitova said.

"She was a little bit heavier than I thought!"

As mentioned above, the first day of play of the 2013 season took place on Friday, with the first round of qualies at the Brisbane International. And while the qualifying's No.1 seed made it through - Vania King, a 46 63 64 winner over Paula Ormaechea - the first upsets of the year also took place, with the other Top 4 seeds knocked out, namely No.2 seed Camila Giorgi (by Vera Dushevina), No.3 seed Alexandra Panova (by Karin Knapp) and No.4 seed María-Teresa Torró-Flor (by Johanna Konta).