LONDON: Petra Kvitova insists winning Wimbledon for the second time was such a sweet success that even becoming the world number one couldn’t be more fulfilling.
Kvitova ended three years of underachievement as she powered to her second Grand Slam title with a ruthless 6-3, 6-0 thrashing of Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in Saturday’s finals (Sunday in Manila).
The 24-year-old had endured a difficult time since her first major triumph at Wimbledon in 2011, with the expectations created by that breakthrough victory against Maria Sharapova proving a huge burden for the shy Czech.
She had failed to make it back to a Grand Slam finals until this weekend, but all her pent up anger and frustration was taken out on 13th seed Bouchard in the quickest Wimbledon women’s final for 31 years.
Kvitova will rise to fourth in the world rankings next week, but asked if she would now set her sights on replacing Serena Williams as the number one, she made it clear that ending her wait for another major title at her favorite Grand Slam was more than enough for now.
“I was pretty close to No. 1 before and I feel this is something more special, to have this Grand Slam, especially Wimbledon,” she said.
“Of course the No. 1 means a lot to everyone. We’ll see what the future holds. For me, I’m just glad that I have this Grand Slam.
“I was really up and down after my title here in 2011. I wasn’t really imagining this situation again. I still believed I could win another Grand Slam, but it was hard to imagine at Wimbledon because I wanted it so much.
“It was certainly a great journey for me here.”
When Kvitova last won Wimbledon she seems posed to dominate the women’s tour with her potent power game.
But instead she felt uncomfortable in the spotlight and regularly crashed out of the Grand Slams in the early stages.
Those barren years made this emphatic victory even more memorable than her first Wimbledon and Kvitova was reduced to tears as the magnitude of her achievement sunk in.
“This means more than 2011 because I really played a great tournament this time,” Kvitova said.
“It means everything. It’s Wimbledon. Tennis here is tennis history.
“The Center Court always feels great to play on. I feel really at home.”
Kvitova’s blistering performance included 28 winners and four aces, but mere statistics don’t do justice to the way she bludgeoned Bouchard into submission.
Bouchard hadn’t dropped a set on her way to the final, but she had no answer to the barrage from Kvitova.
“Definitely it was one of the best matches I’ve played,” she said.
“A few shots were really incredible and I couldn’t believe that I made actually them. Maybe it was magic.
“I said ‘Oh, my God, this is good! I can really run and put everything back’.
“I love to play finals in the big stadiums. Definitely I was in the zone.”
While Kvitova had labored to rediscover her mojo for the last three years, Wimbledon was the one place she thrived.
She has felt at home here since falling in love with tennis while watching childhood idol Martina Navratilova win her nine Wimbledon titles.
And fittingly Navratilova was in the Royal Box to watch Kvitova’s victory and shared a locker room embrace with her compatriot.
“It’s nice to see her in the locker room and she’s smiling and she’s happy for me. She’s a legend. I’m just glad that I have this huge fan,” Kvitova added.
Kvitova’s victory was also a perfect present for father Jiri, who celebrates his birthday on Sunday and crying as he hugged his daughter in the players’ box.
“My dad is very emotional. It’s nothing new! I was crying as well,” Kvitova said.
“He has a birthday tomorrow, so I’m just glad he has a nice present.”