Petra Kvitova recently told sportsillustrated.com that the match she most wishes she could replay would be her Australian Open 2012 semifinal loss to Maria Sharapova.
There, the Czech fell in three sets to her Russian rival, a player she had defeated six months prior in the Wimbledon final, giving Kvitova her first ever Grand Slam title. Their Melbourne rematch was a riveting battle, yet it denied Kvitova a crack at Victoria Azarenka in the final, a player against whom she’d never lost, and also the possibility of claiming the coveted world No.1 ranking.
With Kvitova’s motivation high to put in a better showing at the year’s first major and erase memories of that bitter result, it’s the perfect time to have her playing for your town at Australian Open 2014 as part of the AO Blitz.
The left-hander’s sunny disposition, sportsmanship and popularity among her contemporaries mask an intense competitor within. It’s what’s made her a Grand Slam champion and a fixture within the top 10 pretty much every week since she first cracked this elite club in early 2011.
While she may not have since experienced the same highs as her Wimbledon triumph and a 2011 season that reaped six titles (including the WTA Championships) and the world No.2 ranking, the Czech is still a scary proposition for all opponents to face. Her powerful, well-disguised serve, brutal groundstrokes and all-court polish make her a threat at all tournaments and on all surfaces, including the blue Plexicushion of Melbourne Park.
So how can you get Kvitova playing for your town at the upcoming Australian Open?
It’s easy – the more points you earn by completing challenges, the more points you earn for your nominated town. And the higher your town finishes on the leader-board, the more chance it will have of being represented by a highly seeded player. The top two towns on the leader-board will flip a coin to see which one scores the top-seeded male player, or the top-seeded female.
Your town could be associated with the Czech at Australian Open 2014; giant information screens around Melbourne Park, plus scheduling signage, would feature her name, nationality and the Australian town she’s ‘playing for’.
It’s a pretty exciting concept, especially when you consider the prizes on offer. If your representative player wins the men’s or women’s Australian Open singles title, your town will be treated to an AO Blitz party for the entire community, and a whole host of other prizes.
And given the upswing on which she finished the 2013 season, Kvitova will be among the title favourites when the world’s best begin arriving in Melbourne in January.
Following an illness-affected US Open campaign, Kvitova made the decision to take on a new fitness trainer. And it paid immediate dividends; in her very next tournament in Tokyo, she swept to the title, and the following week progressed to the semifinals of the even more prestigious event in Beijing. Riding that confidence into the WTA Championships in Istanbul, she again reached the semifinals.
Having fallen outside the top 10 following her third-round exit at Flushing Meadows, she finished the season, impressively, at world No.6. And she’s got plenty of room for improvement – after an uninspiring second-round exit to Laura Robson at Melbourne Park in 2013, she enter the 2014 tournament with few points to defend and little pressure.
If her surprising win at the 2011 Wimbledon championships is anything to go by, that’s when the talented Czech is at her most dangerous.
By registering for the AO Blitz and completing as many challenges as you can, you'll increase your chances of having Kvitova potentially repeating such a title run for your town at Australian Open 2014.