ISTANBUL — Petra Kvitova admitted to feeling the pressure of kicking off the WTA Championships as the defending champion. It showed, as the Czech was slow-footed and nervous in her opening-match loss to No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, hitting 41 unforced errors in a 6-3, 6-2 loss.
“The nerves were there for sure,” an uncharacteristically emotional Kvitova said. “I was nervous all match. I felt my fingers weren’t still moving and I didn’t move my legs.”
A few minutes late for her press conference duties, the Czech’s eyes were wet from what looked like a good cry in the locker room after the match. No rackets were broken — “That’s not my style,” she said laughing, but she was equal parts angry and sad. “I’m disappointed in myself. I had a lot of errors and it wasn’t good tennis from my side.”
I’ve been in quite a few press conferences after some of Kvitova’s tough losses, but I’ve never seen her as visibly disappointed and emotional than after this loss. I asked her why this loss hurt so much. She paused and her voice quavered. “That’s a good question.” This isn’t the first time Kvitova has admitted to feeling the nerves as a defending champion. She said she felt the same way when she played her first match at Wimbledon this year.
“But still, I mean, it’s the Championships and I have a second chance.” She’ll have a day to regroup before playing Sara Errani on Thursday.