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.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7