PRAGUE: Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said Tuesday she had been “pretty gutted” by news that her favorite tournament was canceled over the coronavirus pandemic.
“Of all tournaments that have been canceled, the news about Wimbledon was the most upsetting for me,” the 30-year-old, who won the grass court major in 2011 and 2014, told AFP.
“I’m not saying I cried when I heard it, but I was pretty gutted on that day. I guess the reason is clear,” added the current world No. 12.
Kvitova is playing at an all-Czech tournament in Prague, where eight men and eight women are competing behind closed doors and under stringent measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
Hygiene is key at the event where no one will hand the towel to the players who must also wear face masks at press conferences. The ball boys and ball girls are wearing gloves, though the players share a set of balls.
Instead of shaking hands at the end of each game, they do a “racquet bump” to avoid infection.
Organizers canceled the Grand Slam scheduled for early July on April 1, for the first time since World War II.
“I will miss the atmosphere of the tournament of course, besides the experiences and memories of last year,” said fellow Czech Barbora Strycova, who made the singles semifinals and took the doubles honors with Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei in 2019.
“I always like to get back to Wimbledon because when I’m there it feels special. For me it’s the most important and greatest tournament of all,” said
“When the time comes it will be sad for me, but that’s how it is and we can’t change anything about it.”
Karolina Muchova, the 23-year-old world No. 26, made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2019, a year that saw her climb from 145th to 21st in the world.
“I guess Wimbledon is the greatest tournament so I’ll really miss everything about it,” she said.
“I had my best result there last year, so it was special, and I was looking forward to the grass season, that’s kind of specific and I enjoyed playing there,” Muchova told AFP.
“But it’s not only Wimbledon, the other Grand Slams are in jeopardy now and we all know the chances (of playing them) are fairly thin.”
Kenin, Stephens to play WTT season before fans at resort
Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens will compete in a 2020 World TeamTennis season played at a mountain resort with spectators starting July 12.
The nine-team US circuit will stage its 45th campaign at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, from July 12-Aug. 2, the league announced Tuesday.
With the WTA and ATP tours shut down into August due to the coronavirus pandemic, the move makes the WTT the first pro tennis circuit to resume play after the global outbreak of the deadly virus shut down the sport.
“All of us are extremely grateful to be able to play the 45th World TeamTennis season and present professional tennis to our sports-starved and tennis-starved audiences,” said WTT chief executive Carlos Silva.
“The overwhelming feedback from our players is that they want to play WTT and are comfortable in doing so in a safe environment, which is our No. 1 priority. West Virginia has among the nation’s fewest cases of COVID-19.”
The WTT plans at least three matches a day at the resort’s 2,500-seat outdoor stadium with an indoor court to be installed as a backup option.