Defending champions Kvitova and Djokovic were great at Wimbledon, but now?


WIMBLEDON – Last year in the 2014 Wimbledon final, Petra Kvitova didn’t look like nervous at all, or did she? The Czech crushed Genie Bouchard 6-3, 6-0 to win the title, and she was the champion of the world.

She will let her teeth chatter, but not every week and once she manages to go deep at the major, she is much more comfortable. When she is ill and tired, she is gone, pretty quickly, just like the 2015 Australian Open, where she lost to the massive server Madison Keys in the third round, and at the 2015 Roland Garros, she ran into Timea Bacsinszky in three cold sets. The Swiss was enthusiastic, while Kvitova was fairly negative.

Kvitova is happy off the court for the most part, but on court, she can get down on herself.

However, the reason why she has won two majors at the All-England Club is because on the grass she touches her toes and she feel very light. She loosens up, cranks her serve and swings away. That is exactly what she did in Wimbledon, when she overcame Venus Williams 7-5 in the third set in the third round. She did not give away another set the rest of the way. She was playfull and simply brilliant.

“Of course, I was nervous,” she told me. “I remember last year before the match I was really nervous and I couldn’t really even eat. The stomach was so small, I didn’t really put food through. But when I step on the court, was totally different.  I had experience from 2011 [when she won the title for the first time], and I knew if I going to step on the court, it will be much more nicer for me and feeling better. Of course, then all of first set, which I really played well, can come back and play really strong.  After the first set, I think the nerves was a little bit better for me.  I was feeling better. In the second still was still thinking about every point.”

Then Kvitova smiles and laughed: “In the end of the match, I got nervous again.”

The men’s champion Novak Djokovic came into the press on Sunday, three weeks after when he lost in the final at Roland Garros against Stan Wawrinka. He decided not to play on grass at the tournaments before Wimbledon, but he did play an exhibition at Boodles this week. The No. 1 has been practicing on grass over the past 10 days and he says that he is refreshed after a long stretch on clay.

But given that Djokovic was unable to win Paris once again was a crusher, given that all year he said that was his main goal. He has won every other major, but not on the red clay. This time, the nine-time Rafael Nadal went down in the quarters when Djokovic out-hit him. He beat Nadal for the first time at the French Open. Surely, he was going to win the title. But when Wawrinka knocked him way behind the court with some huge blasts he couldn’t move forward. Djokovic was shaky.

So now is he ready to dance at Wimbledon again or will he fold? It’s a hard to say.

“It was the finals, and that the most important match of the tournament for me.  That’s the match that I wanted to win, but it didn’t happen, mostly because I lost to a better player that day,” Djokovic said. “I had to admit, no question about it, I could only just congratulate him because he was the one that was taking his chances, stepping into the court, being brave, coming up with some incredible shots.  He deserved to win.

“Maybe I could have done a few things differently. But it’s all behind me now. I’m experienced, and something that tennis has taught me over the years, to move on, and to be able to do that very quickly. You have two out of four most important events in the sport just within three weeks’ time.  You need to be able to reset very rapidly and get yourself a new motivation and inspire yourself to keep on going.  This motivation and faith has to be even stronger than it was three weeks ago.

“I’ve been in this particular situations before. It’s brought me a lot of mental, emotional strength. Because of the matches like against Stan, I have become stronger and I’ve learned how to grow in the process. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that again.”

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