BRISBANE, Australia - Petra Kvitova has wished her friend and compatriot Lucie Safarova the very best in retirement - and said she will miss the "special moment" when they are on court together.
The pair were part of the Czech Fed Cup team that have had so much success in recent years, most recently winning the championship in 2018.
"I know in the last couple of years I think she'd been dealing with the sickness and illness, and I think it's understandable when she is not like dead hungry to be back in the top," Kvitova told reporters. "So I do understand that it's really tough to get back in this kind of game when everybody is just very fit.
"And, yeah, I do remember when I came to play, and she was one of the players that I looked up to. We practiced a few times over there, and I was like [a] small child, hi, very shy. And we started to play the Fed Cups together, and kind of we were probably those two who really took the Fed Cup team pretty high, and we spent so many times in the Fed Cup weeks.
"And sitting each other on the bench it was something really special. We knew how the other one was feeling. So you know when we played, we always catch the eyes when they are looking, and it was something really special to share those moments with her, and I'm very proud that we could do it together. And, yeah, hopefully she's going to be very healthy and happy."
Kvitova reflected on Safarova's place in Czech tennis history, describing her as a "legend".
"She was No.1 in doubles, she played final of the Grand Slams, she has so many Fed Cup ties, titles," she added. "I think she does everything, except she didn't win a Grand Slam in the singles, but overall I think she had a great, great career. Everybody can be jealous of her career - and definitely she is one of the legends in Czech Republic for sure."