05
Jul
11

Martina Navratilova said: ‘I think Petra will win more than one. This could be the first of several.

How I solved a problem like Maria: Kvitova tells the world how she broke Sharapova's heart

Martina Navratilova believes her compatriot Petra Kvitova’s maiden Wimbledon title will be the first of many Grand Slam trophies for the Czech 21-year-old.

Kvitova became only the third left-handed player – after nine-time champion Navratilova and Britain’s Ann Jones – to lift the Venus Rosewater dish when she defeated Maria Sharapova on Saturday. Navratilova, who was born in Czechoslovakia but defected to the USA aged 18, watched from the Royal Box with another Czech Wimbledon champion, Jana Novotna. Navratilova said: ‘I think Petra will win more than one. This could be the first of several. ‘The whole club system in the Czech Republic works for everybody because kids are encouraged to become gym rats but they play tennis for fun, rather than having the structure of regimented practice and conformity. ‘They play singles, doubles, they hit against the wall and they become better tennis players because of it. And now the game will be boosted even more because there will be pictures of Petra on every wall in every club.’

Kvitova grew up in Fulnek, a town of 6,000 people in the east of the Czech Republic, near the Polish border. Her father, Jiri, a geography, maths and PE teacher who celebrated wildly as his daughter won her first Grand Slam title with her only ace of the match, is the deputy mayor. ‘It’s nothing special,’ said Kvitova of her hometown. ‘We have four tennis courts and one football ground and a castle.’ Kvitova was coached by her father until she was 16, practising for an hour-and-a-half after school at Fulnek’s small tennis club, with its wooden hut and no toilets. She played only against her parents – her mother Pavla works in a warehouse – and brothers Jiri, an engineer, and Libor, a teacher. But she was then spotted and asked to join an academy in Prostejov, an hour’s drive away, where 2010 Wimbledon men’s finalist Tomas Berdych and world No 32 Lucie Safarova train. Father Jiri was not initially happy with his daughter being snapped up by a larger club, but the move has quickly paid off.

She drives herself to training every day in a Skoda and said she would not be splashing out on a new car with her £1.1million cheque from the All England Club. ‘At 16 I didn’t think that I could be a professional tennis player,’ she said.

‘It’s true, my success has been quick. ‘Last year I was here at Wimbledon and I was 62 in the world and now I’m seventh in the world and I won Wimbledon. It’s so quick. I don’t know why.’

 

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/

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