SINGAPORE — Petra Kvitova is hoping her bout with glandular fever does not hinder her performance at the WTA Finals this week in Singapore.
The 2011 champion found out she was sick after Wimbledon this year and despite winning in New Haven and making the US Open quarter-finals for the first time, has had to struggle through her illness and is yet to fully recover from it.
“The blood tests show that it is in a good way up. It’s important to me that it is doing well. I hope the time off after the season will help me as well,” said Kvitova, who opens her campaign against fellow lefty Angelique Kerber on Monday.
“I’m able to practice a little bit more than I did when I found out after Wimbledon. As I said, it’s on the good way so I can practice more. I can practice every day, so that’s good. Practices, still trying to find balance with the physical part and the tennis part.”
The WTA Finals field feels more open than usual, in the absence of a fatigued Serena Williams, and the Road to Singapore itself was the most competitive we’ve seen in many years. Entering Beijing a mere three weeks ago, 27 players mathematically had a chance qualify for the season finale with six spots up for grabs at the time. Lucie Safarova and Flavia Pennetta booked their places just a few days before the Finals started.
“Still without Serena it’s a great tournament,” said Kvitova.
“I know that we are missing Serena. I think she needed the time off so it’s good for her. Of course she is a great champion and probably for many people she is one of the greatest player. So they are probably a little bit sad she isn’t here. But I think it’s still a great draw and a great two groups. I think you’re going to see great tennis from everyone here.”
Other White Group singles action today sees Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza take on French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova in a battle of WTA Finals debutantes.
— WTA (@WTA) October 25, 2015
The pair faced off in doubles on Sunday, which saw Safarova triumph alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands over Spanish duo Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.
“Is great to be here actually. I think it’s a very good position to be here playing singles and doubles. I’m very excited. I’m kind of rookie. Well, I played last year doubles, but it’s obviously not the same,” said Muguruza, who at 22, is the youngest in the field.
“I’m nervous, actually, to start and see what happens.”
Muguruza may call herself a rookie but many consider her to be a title favourite, as she is the in-form player at the moment following her trophy-winning run in Beijing and final showing in Wuhan.
“I earned my place here. I definitely have the level. I kind of deserve to be playing here. I don’t see me as a favourite though. I think I played very good this month, and hopefully I can continue doing it,” said Muguruza is the first Spanish woman to make the Finals since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 2001.