Patrick Mouratoglou is a world-renowned tennis coach who has worked with Marcos Baghdatis and Aravane Rezai. His French tennis academy is considered one of the top in the world. He is a frequent contributor to Busted Racquet.
Despite the prestigious and experienced opponent she faced in the Wimbledon final, Petra Kvitova's victory was no surprise. This isn't the pinnacle, it's the beginning. Kvitova is going to become the next big thing in women's tennis.
As I've said in the past, the new generation of players like Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva didn't have enough time to mature when former stars like Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Martina Hingis were winning, then retiring and then coming back, not to mention the stranglehold on the sport both Williams sisters have had in the past decade. Kvitova will break that slide. The new Wimbledon champion is the rare player who comes around once every few years and will soon be mentioned in the name with those other champions.
She's mastered all the shots required by the modern game and has the perfect temperament to win Grand Slams, contrary to, say, Wozniacki, who hasn't developed enough offensive weapons in order to win a major. Kvitova's weapons are obvious: a powerful, accurate and regular serve, a huge forehand and a backhand that's improving as the seasons pass. Combined with her timing, these things allow her to fire heavy shots a bit like a female Juan Martin Del Potro. She's not the fastest, but makes up for her lack of speed by sticking to the baseline and playing deep and powerful shots when attacked.
Kvitova reminds me of Lindsay Davenport, who also won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon (in 1999). The only question mark to me is her fitness. The Czech has lost weight in the pat 18 months but her high-risk kind of game will need constant attention to stamina and endurance.
Saturday's win wasn't much of an upset because of the amount of confidence Kvitova built during the spring months by winning a lot of matches on all surfaces (Brisbane, hard outdoor; Paris-Coubertin indoor; Madrid, clay) and against top-10 players. All of this helped her to change her mental status and to reinforce a confidence that takes a while to develop but doesn't leave once it gets there.
I have a very revealing story about Kvitova that is fitting to tell now. She twice played Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova around late-2008, at a time when I was training the Russian. The first time, Nastya won after saving two match points in Bratislava. They then played each other in Hobart. Pavlyuchenkova was up 6-1, 3-1 and was playing a fabulous match. Kvitova called her coach at that moment and when she came out of the timeout, her level raised immediately. There was no hesitancy, no doubt and total calm. She went on to win the match 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and Pavlyuchenkova truly couldn't be mad at herself for anything, for that's how well Kvitova played. She went on to win the tournament. The 21-year-old knows her abilities and how strong she is, so when she's feeling good she feels like nothing can stop her.