A chance to see a friend and play a little tennis
Updated: 2012-09-29 07:42
Editor's note: During the China Open, China Daily will collaborate with the WTA to bring you columns from various women's players in an effort to provide insight into life on the tour.
It's my fourth time visiting this huge city, which is also the home court of my good friend Li Na.
My first time here was for the Olympics. Unfortunately, I had no time to do any sightseeing on that trip. If possible, I would like to visit the Great Wall this time. But, it's still six hours to get there. If I go through, I don't think that I will be able to go, but if I lose, we'll see.
I can't remember the first time I met Li. All I can remember is that when I started playing on the WTA tour, she was injured. I remember hearing that if she wasn't injured, she would turn up in the top 10. Then she came back, and she was top 10.
I like her. She is a nice person. I have fun with her, and we can always talk. We like to practice at tournaments, and we always have good games. Her team is great as well.
If I had to pick one word to describe her, I'd use the word "funny". Whenever I talk to her, she is smiling. That's something people like to see. I like to smile as well.
We always practice together and talk to each other, but nothing like dinner or anything. We'll see if we have the chance this time in Beijing.
At the China Open, I won't play against her unless we both reach the final, and I would imagine the whole crowd will cheer for her since she plays here. That's normally how it is when someone is playing at home.
I know Li is a national hero here, and someone said I'm as popular in my country as she is in China.
I can't say I'm a national hero, since we have a lot of great athletes in the Czech Republic. But I have to admit winning Wimbledon last year completely changed my life.
I've never been "the girl" before. As a person, off-court life is really tough. In every tournament, I have to speak with the media, with media everywhere. I have more sponsorships, I'm doing commercials and I feel like other people have their eyes on me.
It's a little weird, but I'm used to it.
I can't tell which way is better. I have to say winning Wimbledon was the best moment of my career so far. I can't say I don't like this kind of life. For sure, I like it. Before, I was like everyone else in the Czech Republic and in the world. Now, it's a little bit different.
Here in the China Open, I hope I'll have a better result than I did in my last tournament, in Tokyo. I hope I can improve, and I will try to play my best game.
Hope to see you at the match.
Petra Kvitova is the 2011 Wimbledon champion. She is ranked No 5 in the world.
(China Daily 09/29/2012 page16)