Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova on Monday said that she would prefer that Grand Slams did not take place instead of playing them behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the eve of her court return in an all-Czech tournament, the 30-year-old echoed the thoughts of Roger Federer, who last week said that he would be against the idea of an empty Roland Garros or Flushing Meadows.
“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 said. “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.”
This year’s French Open has been moved to September, Wimbledon has been canceled and the WTA tour is not to resume until at least July 20 due to the coronavirus.
This week’s competition in Prague has eight men and eight women in separate draws, but there are to be no spectators or handshakes.
There are to be referees and ball kids at the tournament, but they are not to hand towels to those on the court.
“It’s not ethical not to shake hands and just give a racquet bump. I think that’s the most unpleasant thing I’m in for,” Kvitova said.
Sports came to a halt in Kvitova’s homeland in mid-March.
“We are here to reintroduce tennis not only to the Czech Republic, but also to the world,” Kvitova said. “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 might happen or it might not,” added the world No. 12, who was to face Barbora Krejcikova in her opening contest yesterday.
Kvitova wore a mask and said it had at least one advantage: “I don’t have to wear makeup.”
The men’s competition is to be played on clay.
“It won’t be the same thing as a regular tournament,” said Jiri Vesely, the 65th-ranked top seed, who won this year’s ATP tournament in Pune, India.
“There are no points to play for, no plot, there will be no fans — but of course we are looking forward to the games and we’ll try to play our best tennis,” added Vesely, who spent the enforced break with his 15-month-old daughter.
“You don’t have much time for that during your regular season. It was simply great. And my shape? You’ll see,” he said.
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