Every tennis fan gets there, no player, and I mean NO PLAYER, will win forever. Dealing with losses is part of sport. But there are losses that hurt more and especially as a player gets older.
2021 and 2022 have not been great years for Petra Kvitova. Her surge to the Doha title in 2021 was glorious but there was precious little else to cheer, and the first round, day one defeat by Sloane Stephens at Wimbledon was a real low point. 2022 has been similarly dismal for us Petra fans with losses to low ranked players and lifeless performances. It can be tough to stay positive when getting bagelled by Begu!
When Petra loses I feel sad, when she wins I feel happy – simple as that. But seeing her play well but lose to Ons Jabeur, now a top 10 player is less painful than bloody Sorana Cirstea AGAIN in Melbourne.
What was even more depressing was how unsurprising it was. There were barely any reporters in her post match press conference, and those that were there seemed uninformed and uninterested. ‘didn’t you lose to her in the same round last year?’ Petra was a tad snippy when correcting him that it was the second round in 2021.
What worries me, and other Petra fans, is if this is the start of her decline and eventual retirement. Petra is 31 – not that old for tennis players these days – but unlike many of the post-30 players, she’s never been a super fit grafter. Petra isn’t that beat up Ford Escort that keeps running for years, she’s the flashy Ford Capri that everyone thinks looks cool and it breaks down on the way to the shops one day! Glorious but not made for years of thrashing…
Petra was always talented, but for the first 5 years or so of her high profile career, she carried a bit of weight. At the end of 2017, she clearly hit the gym and got much slimmer. I’m not going to say fitter as that is just a coded way of saying someone has lost weight. Petra was a little slow around the court, but she’s 6 feet tall and mostly legs. It’s hard to get those legs moving. The pay off is longer levers, and a bit of weight and momentum is what generated her power. To me, Petra is too skinny now and there is less weight to her shots. She still has that timing so CAN put some whip into it, but her game is different. This paid off pretty well with a stack of titles in 2018 and a grand slam final in 2019. Petra has apparently been struggling with a wrist injury, and us fans live in hope she can find her form again. I’ve been trying to prepare myself for the inevitable end, I’ve actively followed Krejcikova more, but Petra’s wins give me more joy.
Yesterday Petra had her best win of the year in the first round of Dubai. She beat the always dangerous Camilla Giorgi 6-2, 6-0. Giorgi was poor but Petra looked good. It was pretty glorious! The next round will be either top seed and world number 2, Aryna Sabalenka or the dangerous youngster Marta Kostyuk. Petra CAN win but the odds are long. I would dearly love her to win, but firmly wish she plays well and not one of the wretched, flat performances we’ve seen lately.
When your faves are losing, it is tough..