'Facing Konta, advice for Coco & smiling on match point'


Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who has won 27 singles titles on the WTA Tour, is writing a column for the BBC Sport website during the championships at the All England Club.

The 29-year-old Czech, who before this week had not played since pulling out of the French Open in May with an arm injury, beat Poland’s Magda Linette 6-3 6-2 in the third round on Saturday to set up a last-16 match against Britain’s Johanna Konta.

It is a great feeling to have not dropped a set after three difficult rounds.

I think I played my best tennis of the tournament against Magda Linette in the third round, serving well, moving well and playing aggressively.

I even managed to smile on the first match point, which I didn’t convert, because she struck the ball with the frame of her racquet and still managed to hit a winner on the line.

I didn’t move at all as I thought it was going two metres out but suddenly it was on the line! This made me smile. Sometimes you have these things that you can be more relaxed about – this was a nice one so we smiled at each other.

Being back in the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2014 is amazing. I won the title that year but winning it again is just not something I am even thinking about at the moment – I’m worrying about my forearm injury, which could still flare up any time.

It will be great if I can continue the stats, though, of never having lost in the fourth round in the five times I have been there!

‘Special to play Britain’s Konta at Wimbledon’

Facing Johanna Konta in the fourth round will be special. I played her at Birmingham last year and also Heather Watson one year at Eastbourne, so I know what it is like to play a Briton at home.

It is always special because the crowd is cheering for the British player. British people are very polite and they are great at supporting other players, so I don’t think it will be that crazy on Monday.

Jo likes to play on grass and she is having a good grass season. It goes well for her when she plays kind of flat shots from both sides, especially from the backhand.

It is great that we are playing on Centre Court. Being there will bring back some nice memories of winning my two titles and I am glad to get that experience again.

I don’t think anything changes in the second week of a Grand Slam. You’re just deeper in the tournament, which means you are playing really good tennis – and that is always good for your confidence. It does mean, though, that every opponent will be very, very difficult.

Petra Kvitova beat Johanna Konta at Birmingham last year on her way to the title

Advice for Coco & dealing with distractions

It is great to see 15-year-old Coco Gauff doing so well. She has a big future in front of her.

When I was 15, I didn’t even know I was going to play professional tennis.

I was in my home town of Fulnek in the Czech Republic and practising with my dad and I was just enjoying time on the court. I never thought that I would play at Wimbledon at that time.

If I was to give her any advice, it would be to be patient.

Everybody has ups and downs and that will come to her for sure. She just needs those experiences where she has to handle pressure and to keep up the hard work.

One of the other things you sometimes have to deal with is distractions in the crowd, like the sprinkler spraying or the corks popping that we have had this week. For me, it’s been screaming from the crowd – it is not a positive distraction but you just have to keep focused.

Petra Kvitova was speaking to BBC Sport’s Sonia Oxley at Wimbledon.

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