Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic recently won the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. After the tournament her ranking is now at number 7 in the world.
I believe she has the capability to go a lot higher though! Let’s take a look at her biography and analyze her game in detail!
Kvitova was born in 1990 in Bilovec, Czechoslovakia. She had a solid junior career, reaching a high ranking of number 27 in the ITF junior rankings in 2007. She did not win any major tournaments as a junior though.
One interesting thing about her junior career is that she does not come from a tennis crazy family and she did not attend a tennis academy where she could train 3 to 4 hours a day. Instead she practiced only 1 to 2 hours every day after school and slowly but surely improved her game over the years!
As a professional she enjoyed early success, reaching the Top 50 in the world in 2008 at the young age of 18! Since then she has continuously improved.
Her best result so far is of course the 2011 Wimbledon title and she now holds 6 career titles on the WTA tour.
Petra Kvitova is a left-handed power hitter. She plays a very aggressive game and has all the tools to beat the best players in the world on any given day!
Have a look at some of her best points
from the Madrid semifinals victory in 2011
Kvitova’s forehand has a rather classical look to it. She uses a conservative grip and does not hit with a whole lot of topspin.
Maybe the best shot in her game is the flat forehand down the line, which often results in a winner!
Looking at her forehand you can see a short backswing. Her racket does not go past the back shoulder on her backswing. This kind of short backswing is great for taking the ball early and going down the line with rather flat shots.
Her ability to take balls so early and hit winners down the line is very effective in women’s tennis and is also her biggest strength in my opinion!
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Petra has a very strong backhand. She has a beautiful swing and likes to take the ball early to pressure opponents.
Have a look at these powerful backhand winners!
What you can see in the Kvitova backhand is great use of the kinetic chain. She pre-stretches all of the important muscle groups and then unwinds everything into contact. The result is phenomenal power!
To learn more about the kinetic chain visit the Tennis Strokes page on this website!
Even though she doesn’t use it too often, Kvitova hits one of the better slice backhands on the women’s tour. She manages to keep the ball relatively low and it does not sit up too much.
Petra Kvitova is a lot more comfortable coming to the net than many other female professional players!
She does not hesitate to follow her powerful baseline shots to the net and she does well with finishing points up there. This I believe is a huge advantage to her competitors!
As you can see in the beginning of the video below, Petra hits a very solid forehand volley. Her racket face is relatively flat going to the ball and she moves the racket forward on a rather straight line!
Kvitova’s backhand volley is a bit weaker than her forehand volley but she still manages to stabilize the racket-face enough to make it a solid shot!
Petra has a great serve and when serving she has a big advantage as a left-hander!
Opponents are not used to lefty serves and it often takes them some time to get used to the different bounce of the ball!
Like most left-handed players, she uses the slice out wide from the ad court extremely well. In fact my guess is that the slice out wide serve followed by a down the line forehand is probably her favourite combination on the tennis court!
Looking at her serve, you can see that she has a very fluid arm action without any stop in the motion. This is a key characteristic for great servers!
To learn more about the key body positions for great tennis strokes visit the Tennis Video Instruction page on this website!
Return of Serve
Usually I do not make a separate analysis for the return of serve technique in this section.
Kvitova’s return is one of her biggest strengths though and the reason for that is superb technique.
In order to return well you need good grips as well as short compact swings. Kvitova has both! With her conservative forehand grip she does not require a lot of time to change between the forehand and backhand return grip. This is crucial when returning because the ball comes incredibly fast.
She combines those good grips with a really short compact motion on the return of serve. That way she can play aggressive returns against almost any serve. Watching her hit return winners so effortlessly is a great reminder about the importance of tennis technique!
Petra Kvitova: Amazing Returns With A Compact Motion!
Kvitova’s game is built around pressuring her opponents. She does a great job at taking time away from opponents by taking the ball early!
When she is at her best, you will see her on offense the majority of the time. She does not do so well when opponents manage to put her on the run.
Petra is also not afraid to follow good shots up to the net, which makes life a lot easier for a power-hitter type player like herself.
Overall I think she has a good game plan
that suits her abilities well!
What she could certainly work on a bit more is her defensive skills. Oftentimes she tries to hit the ball back too flat and fast from defensive positions. This is a typical problem for players that have a very offensive mindset.
Petra Kvitova seems to be in good shape. She is quite tall at 6′ or 183 centimeters and moves well for that height.
She also must have a good amount of core and lower body strength in order to hit the ball as hard as she does on a regular basis. To develop that kind of power in Tennis you need great technique as well as physical power!
Most likely she is not maxed out when it comes to her physical development though. As a junior she trained very little compared to most other pro players and therefore it is likely that she still has some room left for improvement in this area!
Before winning Wimbledon in 2011, her performances in the major tournaments were not that great. Her best result previously was the quarterfinals at the 2011 Australian Open. Her game was not consistent enough and she seemed to lack a bit of belief in her capability to achieve great things.
In a recent interview she said that she did not believe she was good enough to even make it as a professional player when she was about 16 or 17 years old.
It sure takes a while to get this kind of belief out of your subconscious and that could be the reason why it has taken her a bit of time to realize how good she can actually play!
Now it seems to me like she has total belief in her capability to win majors. She didn’t seem at all surprised when she won the Wimbledon final and therefore I think she will go forward with a lot of mental strength.
The newly gained self-confidence in combination with the great competitive spirit that she already has, should result in a lot more great victories in the future!
Petra Kvitova is strong in all four areas and therefore ranking her was a very close decision for me. She has superb technique and that in combination with her physical power makes her the dangerous player that she is. Therefore, I see her technical skills at number 1 and her physical skills at number 2.
She is also strong mentally and plays a good tactical game but I believe there is more room for improvement in these areas. Especially on the tactical side she can still make some good adjustments to her game!
The key for Petra is consistency in her performances. When she plays well there are not many players that can compete with her!
In 2011 she seems to be getting a lot more consistent though and therefore she is likely to keep rising in the rankings.
Up until recently she has not been able to show these strong performances day in and day out though.
Most likely it is a matter of believing that she can do it and developing more mental toughness!
The top players in the world manage to win matches even when they are having a bad day and that is what Kvitova needs to learn as well!
Additionally, Kvitova could improve her defensive game. She needs to learn to neutralize from defensive positions more often rather than trying to go from defense straight into offense!