DUBAI, UAE - World No.3 Petra Kvitova is doing her best to recharge after a grueling first five weeks of the season, but the Australian Open finalist says it's been difficult to escape the physical and emotional exhaustion stemming from her sparkling start to 2019.
"It was a crushing time for me, to be honest," Kvitova told WTA Insider ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. "I came home from the Australian Open because I had to get my passport with my visa to Russia and flew the next day to St. Petersburg. I was really looking forward to being there again. It's a nice tournament. I came there with friends and it was fun."
"Then I flew to Monaco, then to the Czech Republic, where I had different reasons to be there. Then a few days of practice. Of course, it's not really easy to practice after an exhausting beginning of the season, which I really had. I still do feel it.
"Physically and mentally, it's still not 100%, but it's the tennis world and we are just in a circle and it's tough to do anything against it."
Over the last 12 months, Kvitova has become the Queen of the Streak. She has posted double-digit win streaks three times over that span, the most recent of course being an 11-match win streak in January, which ended with a three-set loss to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open final. Already the tour-leader in wins with a 13-3 record and the most matches of any woman in the Top 10, Kvitova comes into Dubai after a 10-day break.
"I played a lot of tennis in that month so I think I have a good reason to be tired," Kvitova said with a laugh.
"My mentality right now is different from any other mentality in the world. I'm not feeling really fresh, to be honest. I'm not feeling empty as well. It's just the mix of everything, of all the emotions, physically and mentally it's been a lot on me right now.
"I'm just trying to find a way out of it. That's what I'm dealing with right now.
"Tennis is fun for me, it's a joy. Every time I'm on the court it's great, I'm really enjoying it. That's important, that I find the joy on the court. That's what matters right now."
Asked how she would recharge her batteries in an ideal world, Kvitova said a friend had asked her the same question a few days ago.
"I leave the phone somewhere, I will fly by myself to another world, and being there for a while, and then I come back hopefully refreshed," she said. "On the other hand, I don't know if being there by myself will help me as well. So probably I need a few days alone and then I need some company to chat, laugh, and have a great time spending with someone. Yeah, it's tough."
"I did have a few days without the racquet. I was able to see my parents, my family, my nephews and nieces. I just love them. they are 9, 7, and 4 from my two brothers. It's just lots of fun with them. They don't have to do anything and they're giving the energy to me. You are just focusing on them and not on yourself at all. It was great to see them.
So do her nieces and nephews have any understanding of what Auntie Petra does for a living?
"I don't think so. The older one she said, Auntie I know that you are famous. They want some signatures from you. But I don't think she realizes what it means."
Kvitova is seeded No.2 in Dubai. After a bye into the second round, the Czech will face either Katerina Siniakova or Petra Martic.