WASHINGTON, May 27, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
Petra Kvitova’s one-sentence tweet perfectly summed up her sentiment: “It felt so great to be back on the court today, even if in Prague instead of Paris.”
Indeed, if it weren’t for the pro tennis tours being grounded globally since early March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Kvitova and many of her fellow Czechs would be in Paris competing at Roland Garros this week. Instead, the World No. 12 from Bilovec, Czech Republic, is headlining this week’s Czech TA President’s Cup in Prague with no fans attending.
”I have my age and of course I would like to play another grand slam, but if it’s like this, I’d rather cancel them,” Kvitova, 30, said during a press conference. “Playing a grand slam is the greatest thing there is and playing without fans who are our engine doesn’t look nice to me and the grand slam doesn’t deserve it.”
On Tuesday, Kvitova beat No. 115 Barbora Krejcikova, 7-6 (3), 6-2, to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals against 54th-ranked Katerina Siniakova. Other winners included No. 31 Barbora Strycova and No. 26 Karolina Muchova, who will pair in the other semifinal.
Siniakova defeated No. 474 Lucie Hradecká, 6-3, 6-4; Strycova beat 15-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova, ranked No. 822, 6-1, 7-5; and Muchova advanced over No. 69 Kristyna Pliskova, 6-3, 6-4. After each match, the winners renounced their tradition handshake for a tap of their racquets.
Meanwhile, advancing to the men’s semifinals were No. 405 Michael Vrbensky, who upset No. 65 Jiri Vesely, 4-6, 6-3, 10-4; No. 617 Jiri Lehecka, a 7-6 (7), 1-6, 10-6 victor over No. 256 Tomas Machac; No. 229 Zdenek Kolar, who beat No. 436 Jonas Forejtek, 6-3, 7-5; and No. 320 Vit Kopriva, who defeated No. 180 Lukas Rosol, 7-6 (2), 6-3. On Wednesday, Vrbensky will face Lehecka and Kolar will oppose Kopriva.
Other takeaways from Kvitova’s press conference, in which she wore a face mask:
• “We are here to reintroduce tennis not only to the Czech Republic, but also to the world.”
• “The hardest thing will be to find the rhythm; we haven’t played a match for a very long time.”
• “I hope nobody expects us to play fantastic tennis, because it may happen or it may not.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) May 26, 2020