Petra Kvitova, the lefty two-time Wimbledon winner, has a little bit of everything going on. She is one of the strongest players on tour, able to take on heavy hitters like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. She is also one of its most fragile, frequently succumbing to asthma-related issues in hot and humid conditions, and recently battling through a bout of mono.
The six-foot-tall player can alternately seem shy and girlish, gangly and a bit who-gives-a-fuck languorous, fierce and powerful, or doe-eyed and delicate. Kvitova can be intense on court, competitively attacking each ball, swinging for the fences, letting out a squawking “Pojd!” (“Come on!” in Czech) after every winner. Then her post-match interviews are laid-back and cheerful, much like her mid-match pow-wows with her coach David Kotyza.
Coaching visits on the WTA tour often range from useless to extremely uncomfortable, with coaches shouting steady streams of advice at a blankly-staring player who seems to absorb nothing. In contrast, Petra’s visits with David seem like so much more fun, the two sitting side-by-side and chatting amiably. Since we can’t understand Czech, we often enjoy faux-translating their convos, wherein they discuss the latest episode of their favorite TV show or exchange recipes.
For our Beauty of Tennis Series, we like to select a bit of poetry that expresses something about the player. We found the poem “An ‘If’ for Girls,” by Elizabeth Lincoln Otis, which suggests the perfect balance between all the aspects of femininity and begins with:
“If you can dress to make yourself attractive,Yet not make puffs and curls your chief delight;If you can swim and row, be strong and active,But of the gentler graces lose not sight;
If you can dance without a craze for dancing,Play without giving play too strong a hold,Enjoy the love of friends without romancing,Care for the weak, the friendless and the old;”
…and ends with:
“The plan that’s been developed through the ages,And win the best that life can have in store,You’ll be, my girl, the model for the sages—A woman whom the world will bow before.”
With these words and the following pictures, we’ve tried to capture that balance of contrasts in Petra’s presence and in her game, with a little nod to the closeness with her coach. And we wait to see how many more titles Petra will collect, and which women may bow before her on her way to another Slam victory.
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