Thursday, January 12, 2012

Who would have thought that a shy small town girl from Czechoslovakia would one day grow up to be a tennis player of note?

Not just one of the pack, though. Instead, a star in its ascendency as her trajectory hurtles towards a date with destiny gracing the courts of the world as a fully fledged supernova.

And that girl is no longer a girl. Indeed, Petra Kvitova has blossomed into a 6ft Amazonian wonderland of athletic prowess on her way to a career of eminence as she tortures her opponents with thunderbolts that are fired off either wing.

Already number two in the world and the holder of one grand slam title, the left hander also possesses a deadly swinging serve from the ad side of the court.

Those are some handy weapons at her disposal, then.

With the rare combination of power and timing that the twenty-one year old has been blessed with, all that is required now is for her to discover the secret to mixing her unique talent with large volumes of consistency.

She showed what she could deliver in her victory at Wimbledon last July.

A talent had arrived. “I am woman, hear me roar”, you could almost hear her saying as the cub transformed into a fully matured lioness before the optics of an awestruck audience.

She hunted her prey mercilessly, then tore that foe to shreds.

Such was the exquisite power that she generated upon hitting balls that you could hardly blame her opposition if they had cawed in protestation at the annihilation with which Kvitova had forced them to endure.

Her theatre of dreams had turned into a boulevard of prosperity and dominance.

The Eastern European sporting princess had announced herself to the world.

Unintentionally, of course. You see, that’s the thing with Kvitova. One gets the impression that she abhors the attention that comes with her on-court success. That she is just a tad uncomfortable, and all she wishes for is to play the game without any of the peripheral distractions.

And it may be this reluctance to embrace stardom that causes self-doubt to rare its ugly head in her. Ergo, the inconsistencies that are there for all to see.

She had gone from Wimbledon champion to the ignominy of first round loser at the US Open. From the apex to the nadir in one fell swoop.

Kvitova consolidated, though. Slowly but surely she rediscovered her winning ways. By the end of 2011 she had added the WTA tour championship to her list of victories.

Talk about handling pressure. It's one thing to suffer a heavy defeat, and most would be shattered, but to fight ones way back into form so rapidly displays a maturity to her ways. Maybe Kvitova is beginning to adapt to the modern game and the pressures that go with it. But, a true champion does adapt, which she is undoubtedly doing.

And she shows signs of being one who is about to propel herself headlong into the chronicles of greatness.

So 2012 may herald the passing of a princess, and introduce the tennis world to a new queen.

One that laps up the pressure and dominates with a ruthless efficiency that deals to upstart subordinates that dare to challenge her power.

And one that looks set to rule with a long and distinguished career.

That queen, Petra Kvitova, is about to hold court. Quiet please.

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