Wimbledon 2012: Kvitova reveals burden of the defending champion

Defending champion Petra Kvitova says opponents raise their game against her as she moves into the second week at SW19

petra kvitova
Petra Kvitova won her maiden Wimbledon title in 2011 Photo: Marianne Bevis

petra kvitova

Petra Kvitova claimed her status as defending Wimbledon champion prompts her opponents to raise their game after the fourth seed’s straight-sets victory over Varvara Lepchenko.

The Czech Republic No1 made short work of her third-round tie with a 6-1 6-0 win in a brisk 53 minutes against her American opponent, setting up a meeting with Francesca Schiavone in the last 16.

Kvitova, who beat Maria Sharapova in the final at SW19 last year, is yet to drop a set in her defence of the Wimbledon crown, beating Akgul Amanmuradova, Britain’s Elena Baltacha and Lepchenko en route to the fourth round.

But the 22-year-old has noticed a difference in the approach of her opponents from this time last year.

“I remember when I was around 60 spot in the ranking, it was the same with me when I went to big stadium against big, top players. I played my best and tried to beat her,” said Kvitova.

“So I think that it’s really similar because they don’t have a lot to lose.”

Kvitova has enjoyed mixed success since her Wimbledon triumph, winning the WTA Tour Championship finals at the end of 2011, but losing in the semi-finals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year.

The world No4 admitted her form ahead of Wimbledon has not been overly impressive and concedes she is yet to hit the explosive heights reached at SW19 last year – but insists she is improving with each match.

“When I came here, I wasn’t really confident [about playing] on the grass because I lost my first match in the Eastbourne and I played badly,” she added.

“So that’s why I didn’t think that in such a short time [I could] get ready to have a really good game on the grass.

“But, yes, every round it’s got better, so I hope that I am starting my form on grass.

“I’m feeling very good on the court, but I think last year, I played unbelievable for seven matches. This year it’s still a very open tournament. I played well so far in the last two rounds.”

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