Petra Kvitova rediscovered her grass-court magic at the Rothesay International Eastbourne. The two-time Wimbledon champion captured her 29th career title, fifth on grass, and first since 2021 Doha by defeating defending champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 in Saturday's final.
It was a perfect week for the 32-year-old Czech, who has struggled with injury throughout the 2022 season. As Kvitova explained to WTA Insider, her frustrating season had sapped all the joy out of her tennis. Now, she goes into her favorite tournament feeling far more optimistic about her chances.
WTA Insider: How does it feel to win your first title of the season?
Kvitova: I feel great. I enjoyed it today for sure. Overall the whole match was pretty good tennis, I think. I started very well and just kept going. The whole match I was trying to push myself, especially in my service games.
I know Jelena likes to play on grass, she's the defending champion here. I knew she would be a really tough opponent and she was today.
WTA Insider: What does it mean for you to win Eastbourne?
Kvitova: What does it mean? Finally I have it, I would say. I was pretty close in 2011 but I didn't make it.
It's beautiful to have a title. It means something big is coming. It's great preparation having five matches in a row. This is unbelievable for me. This whole year I didn't have that. Hopefully, this is a boost of confidence and good feelings with myself.
WTA Insider: When did things click for you this week?
Kvitova: I felt OK in Birmingham already but it was a little bit too early. And I had Beatriz [Haddad Maia] in the first round and she was on fire. Since then I still practiced and I was playing well, even in the practices.
I think the first match against Donna [Vekic] was where I felt, 'Wow, that was a really nice match after a long time.' So I think that was the beginning of it for sure. I felt good, I served well, I had 11 aces in my opening match. It was something I was waiting for a long time.
Since then I just kept going, even though the next match was up and down, but I just fought and found a way.
WTA Insider: I know it's been a frustrating season for you. What was it like for you over the last five months?
Kvitova: Well I've been injured quite a lot so it was tough to practice. It was a rollercoaster and I couldn't end my injuries. Then I would play one match and I was totally destroyed after it. It's been pretty difficult with my body actually, and of course with my mind.
Having lots of treatments and seeing doctors, it was really painful sometimes. I didn't really enjoy playing tennis sometimes, which is not normally the case for me. But I really enjoyed this week.
WTA Insider: A lot can change in a week in tennis. How do you think this result might change something for you going forward, not just for Wimbledon but for the rest of the season?
Kvitova: Actually I don't know. It's tough to guess right now. I will tell you in a few months if my mind doesn't turn.
This is great to have a title, to have more confidence in my game, to enjoy it a little bit more, to find my fight back. But I don't know. It's grass. It's a special place for me to be playing. I don't know how the hard courts will work for me afterward.
But I'm just thinking about this time. It's Eastbourne and Wimbledon is coming. It's tough for me to look too far ahead.
5 - Petra #Kvitova has won 5 titles on grass (Wimbledon 2011 and 2014, Birmingham 2017 and 2018, and #Eastbourne 2022): since 2000, only Serena Williams has won more titles in this surface (8). Playground.#EastbourneInternational @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/aZt9sMKOoB— OptaAce (@OptaAce) June 25, 2022
WTA Insider: You won your first title in 2009 and this is your 29th title. Only Serena Williams has won more titles than you over that span. What does that stat mean to you?
Kvitova: I'm very old, Courtney. That's what it means to me (laughs).
For me, right now it doesn't really mean anything for me. It's hard for me to see my career overall. The bigger picture, one day I will see it when I'm retired and I will not play tennis anymore. But when I'm still in it, it's really tough to think like this.
WTA Insider: Does winning Eastbourne change your expectations for Wimbledon?
Kvitova: I think it will not change that much of my expectations. I didn't have any expectations, even coming to Eastbourne or Wimbledon.
I think it will change a little bit my feelings, which is the better way because until this time the feelings were not really great. That will be really important for me to feel a little bit more that I can do it again, that I can fight and have a good result over there.
On the other hand, I think it's a totally different tournament. Definitely, I think I will go match by match and not think overall about it like I did all week here. So I'm not looking too much ahead.