STANFORD, CA, USA - The toughest part of Petra Kvitova's season is over. The World No.14 says she's closed the book on her emotional return to the tour, which began at Roland Garros in May, included a tournament win at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham in June, and a return to the tournament she loves, Wimbledon, in July. But her return after six months of rehabilitation to heal deep lacerations in her left hand sustained in a knife attack in her home in December took its toll and now she just wants a little bit of normality.
"I think it just took a few days to recover," Kvitova told reporters during All Access Hour at the Bank of the West Classic. "I was in the same mood as before, that I was very glad that it's over. I was really trying hard to play Wimbledon and suddenly I was there and I wasn't feeling the best.
"Everything together, physically, emotionally, mentally, it was just too much. The body just responded. I'm glad that it's over, this part, and now I just enjoy the rest of the season."
Enjoying the rest of the season means getting back to the grind. Kvitova took a wildcard into Stanford to play a tournament she's never played before. In many ways it's a surprise that the big-hitting lefty, who never met a fast court that she didn't like, had never made it to Stanford. The courts are quick, the air is dry, and Kvitova has already remarked on the quiet, family atmosphere surrounding the tournament.
"For me it's always a long trip here in the USA and probably before I wasn't really able to mentally or physically do it all the way," Kvitova explained. "So I would always start in Toronto or Montréal. Now I'm entered in five tournaments in a row." Then she paused and laughed.
"It already sounds really weird."
But this is the new normal for Kvitova, who was ready to get back on the practice court after a few days of rest after her second round loss to Madison Brengle at Wimbledon.
"The decision [to play Stanford] was easy. I missed six months of tennis. I wanted to play some more matches. I didn't stay too long at Wimbledon so that's why I asked for the wildcard so it's very nice that I got it. I'm happy to be here for the first time."
Kvitova will open her Stanford campaign against either Francesca Schiavone or Kateryna Bondarenko. She's spent her time in Stanford practicing, relaxing, and even heading up north to San Francisco to do some sightseeing. Stanford may be just her fourth tournament back, but so far it's served a stark and much-needed contrast to her whirlwind European comeback.
"I feel already more normal than before," Kvitova said. "I think before, the people were watching me and they didn't know what to think or how they should speak with me, so I already feel like it's more normal than before."