She's been one win from No.1, claimed two titles and reached the Australian Open final, but Jiri Vanek tells wtatennis.com that Petra Kvitova is not getting carried away by her strong start to 2019.
Mark Hodgkinson
May 21, 2019

PARIS, France - There is one conversation that Petra Kvitova will never have with her coach Jiri Vanek - they will never discuss Kvitova's "dream" of becoming the World No.1.

The concern they both have is that speaking openly about that ranking would only add to her stress levels out on the tennis road. 

"Petra has said she feels more comfortable if she doesn't have too many plans in her head," Vanek said in an interview with wtatennis.com ahead of the French Open. 

Just two and a half years after a violent attack on Kvitova at her home in December 2016, Vanek has said it would be "a miracle" if his player, currently fifth in the standings, could achieve the top ranking for the first time. That miracle might just happen in the coming months, given Kvitova has relatively few points to defend after losing in the third round of last year's French Open, the opening round of last season's Wimbledon, and the third round of the 2018 US Open. 

But Vanek would prefer it if Kvitova doesn't talk about, or even think about, such an elevation in status.

Petra Kvitova Jiri Vanek Getty
Petra Kvitova with Jiri Vanek (Getty)

"Becoming No.1 would be Petra's dream, but we don't talk about it because I don't want to put too much pressure on her. At the same time, I think Petra also doesn't want to talk about it because she doesn't want to add to that pressure," said Vanek. 

"The media wants to talk to her about becoming No.1, especially after everything that has happened to her, but I tell her to just be positive and develop your game, and don't think about it too much. If it's going to happen, it will happen and it will be a miracle, but she shouldn't be focusing on being No.1."

Vanek's hope is that Kvitova - who retired from her third round at Rome's Foro Italico with a calf injury - can keep her mind focused on trying to win her next match.

"We're focusing on her matches day by day. She has said that she feels more comfortable if she doesn't have too many plans in her head, and just goes match by match. If she continues to play good tennis, maybe she can get good results but we're not going to make it her big goal." 

 


Kvitova would have become the World No. 1 if she had beaten Naomi Osaka in the final of January's Australian Open, on an evening when she came within a set of winning her first major since the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. In a further effort to reduce the pressure on Kvitova, Vanek has said he hasn't made winning a Grand Slam a goal for 2019. 

"People always try to push me to say that the big goal for the season is a Grand Slam, but I say no," said Vanek. 

"For me, one goal is to win one tournament a year, and she's already won two in Sydney and Stuttgart. Another goal is I want her to win more matches at the Grand Slams this season than she did last year. Last year, she won four matches in total at the Grand Slams, and this season she's already won six matches at the majors by reaching the final of the Australian Open. I would also like Petra to qualify for the WTA Finals, which means finishing the year among the top eight players in the world. Anything else is just perfect." 

'Becoming No.1 would be Petra's dream, but we don't talk about it because I don't want to put too much pressure on her.'

Kvitova will play a lighter schedule this year than she did last season, according to Vanek.

"Petra had an amazing season last year, but maybe it wasn't as good in the second half of the year as it was tough to compete at that level for the full season. We're not going to play as many tournaments as we did the year before. Our fitness coach is going to prepare her for the bigger tournaments, to be there physically and mentally. If that happens, everything is possible with Petra." 

Read more: Champions Corner - Kvitova, Stuttgart and consistency