Petra Kvitova has won 27 titles and two Grand Slams in her career, but her grueling 2018 Mutua Madrid Open final against Kiki Bertens stands out as one of the best matches she’s ever played.
“That win was something very special for me, I was so exhausted!” Kvitova said on My Performance 360, recalling the three-set thriller that ended with a 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3 victory in her favor - and made her Madrid’s first-ever three-time champion.
Kvitova recently appeared on My Performance 360, a new WTA video series in partnership with SAP that asks players to tell the inside story behind some of their biggest victories - while drawing on coaches, stats, and more to paint the whole picture.
Recent episodes have also featured Elina Svitolina with coach Andrew Bettles discussing the 2020 Monterrey final, and doubles partners Barbora Strycova and Hsieh Su-Wei - who joined the call wearing WTA It Takes merch - talking through their victory in the 2020 Brisbane final.
Leading up to the 2018 Madrid final, Kvitova had already lifted trophies in St. Petersburg and Doha, and had just completed a fairy tale week in Prague that saw the Czech player be crowned in front of her home fans. But there was no time to celebrate.
“I had won Prague the week before, and straight after the final, I flew to Madrid,” Kvitova revealed.
Match report: Kvitova claims third Madrid crown against Bertens
Between Prague and Madrid, Kvitova had contested 11 matches in 13 days - and exhaustion had long set in by the day of the final at Madrid’s Caja Magica.
“Before the match I was sleeping, like 20 or 30 minutes before I came onto the court,” Kvitova recalled.
Watch the full My Performance 360 video featuring Petra Kvitova on wtatennis.com:
“This was very mentally tough, because [Bertens] had everything, when I couldn’t put a little bit more energy into it.”
Kvitova also broke down her strategy for winning the biggest points of the match, and explained how she bounced back after dropping the second set - sending them into a decider, meaning even more tennis for Kvitova.
“I tried to play more to her backhand, I thought that was probably the best what I could do,” she said, talking through a pivotal point in the third set.
“I was running side to side, and this was the forehand which really helped me. On the run, I made a forehand crosscourt which was the winner. This really helped me. This saved me, saved some energy as well!” she added laughing.
Kvitova also opened up on a mental low point during the match: deep in the third set, with her exhaustion visible for everyone in the Caja Magica to see, the Czech player didn’t feel like she had anything left in the tank.
“I do remember during the match I called my coach onto the court and I said, I can’t do it anymore, I’m so exhausted. I can’t move, I can’t breathe, I can’t do anything,” Kvitova recalled.
“And I was still able to win it somehow. This was very, very special for me, which gave me a lot of confidence.”
That’s what made the victory so sweet, she explained - and Kvitova’s quietly emotional reaction after match point showed how deep she had to dig to claim her third Mutua Madrid Open crown.
“It was one of the best matches I ever played - not just tennis-wise, but everything. Mentally, physically, everything.”
Check out more My Performance 360 videos here:
Barbora Strycova, Hsieh Su-Wei: 2020 Brisbane Final
Donna Vekic, Torben Beltz: 2019 Brisbane Second Round
Kristina Mladenovic: 2017 St. Petersburg Final
Elina Svitolina, Andrew Bettles: 2020 Monterrey Final