MADRID, Spain - Six days, six wins for Petra Kvitova. Now finally, a day of rest.
The World No.10 enjoyed a dream homecoming week at the J&T Banka Prague Open, where she rallied to defeat Mihaela Buzarnescu, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in Saturday's final to win her third title of the season before hopping on a private plane to prepare for her first round match at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 24-hour turnaround certainly did not slow Kvitova down one bit. She took care of business, defeating Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the second round.
"It was pretty tiring yesterday, to play the final in 2 hours and 15 minutes," Kvitova told reporters in Madrid. "I'm a little bit tired. I have a day off finally tomorrow."
"Physically, the body is still together. I'm not falling apart. I feel some tightness and tiredness. But emotionally, for sure [I feel it]. The final and the speech was very emotional. So probably because of that, I'm pretty exhausted. But the body is ok."
You don't need to understand Czech to see how much Kvitova's title-run meant to her. With an opportunity to give her victory speech in her native tongue for the first time in her career, the two-time Wimbledon champion couldn't hide the tears.
"I didn't prepare anything," Kvitova said. "It just came into my mind during the warm-up of the match because I knew my doctor and a lot of people were coming. Suddenly I got the microphone and I started to speak and everything came to my mind and I couldn't stop crying.
"I'm happy that I did it. It was my first tournament at home since everything and playing in my home club was pretty special."
“My parents spent the time with me in my apartment all week. After many years we spent the whole week together. We didn’t argue or anything! It was great. My mom spoiled me.
‘Do you want a water?’
‘Mom, I can stand and do it.’
‘No, I do it.’
"I didn't ask, she did it! I felt a little weird," Kvitova said with a laugh.
The lightning transition from Prague to Madrid may have actually helped the 28-year-old. Twelve months ago, Kvitova was in the stands during the Prague Open as a spectator, contemplating her impending return at Roland Garros, still recovering from a gruesome knife attack to her dominant left hand while in her home in December 2016.
In front of sold-out crowds at her home club TK Sparta Praha, Kvitova put on a show, losing just one set to win her 23rd career title and fourth title since she returned to the tour. In the stands were her team, her parents, the doctor she credits to saving her hand, and Czech legend Martina Navratilova. It's probably for the best that Kvitova says she hasn't tried to process the symbolic significance of her win.
"I couldn't really imagine coming back and winning four titles already," Kvitova said. "Three this year and it's only May. It's a big surprise."
"I didn't [process it], which I think is better. I don't want to be over-happy. Obviously I was happy but it was pretty emotional. It took a lot of energy from me as well. I didn't really celebrate or anything. My parents were there and I said goodbye because they had a long drive home anyways. I was focused on my first match here already.
A two-time champion in Madrid, Kvitova's first-round win was her tournament-leading 21st main draw win in Madrid (Sharapova has also tallied 21 wins). Kvitova's comfort in Madrid certainly eased her transition.
"I know that I like the conditions in Madrid, which I think helped me as well. Knowing that I can play well, it doesn't matter if I came yesterday or two days before. Sometimes I don't like to spend too many days practicing before a tournament. So it's a good practice playing matches."
"I will practice tomorrow. When I have lots of days in a row I have to do something with the body I have to do something otherwise I get too tight and too lazy."
Kvitova plays Monica Puig in the second round of Madrid on Tuesday. Puig leads their head-to-head 2-0.