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Kvitova 'pretty gutted' by Wimbledon cancellation

Filed on May 26, 2020
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last year. - KT file

The 2013 Dubai Duty Free Tennis champion won the grass-court major twice in 2011 and 2014

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said Tuesday she had been "pretty gutted" by news that her favourite tournament was cancelled over the coronavirus pandemic.

"Of all tournaments that have been cancelled, the news about Wimbledon was the most upsetting for me," the 30-year-old, who won the grass-court major in 2011 and 2014, told AFP.

"I'm not saying I cried when I heard it, but I was pretty gutted on that day. I guess the reason is clear," added the current world number 12.

Kvitova is playing at an all-Czech tournament in Prague, where eight men and eight women are competing behind closed doors and under stringent measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Hygiene is key at the event where no one will hand the towel to the players who must also wear face masks at press conferences. The ball boys and ball girls are wearing gloves, though the players share a set of balls.

Instead of shaking hands at the end of each game, they do a "racquet bump" to avoid infection.

Organisers cancelled the Grand Slam scheduled for early July on April 1, for the first time since World War II.

"I will miss the atmosphere of the tournament of course, besides the experiences and memories of last year," said fellow Czech Barbora Strycova, who made the singles semi-finals and took the doubles honours with Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei in 2019.

"I always like to get back to Wimbledon because when I'm there it feels special. For me it's the most important and greatest tournament of all," said the 34-year-old.

"When the time comes it will be sad for me, but that's how it is and we can't change anything about it."

Karolina Muchova, the 23-year-old world number 26, made it to the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2019, a year that saw her climb from 145th to 21st in the world.

"I guess Wimbledon is the greatest tournament so I'll really miss everything about it," she said.

"I had my best result there last year, so it was special, and I was looking forward to the grass season, that's kind of specific and I enjoyed playing there," Muchova told AFP.

"But it's not only Wimbledon, the other Grand Slams are in jeopardy now and we all know the chances (of playing them) are fairly thin."

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