Petra Kvitova hopes to cap an "unreal" 12 months by winning the French Open as she prepares for an emotional return to Roland Garros. The eighth seed is one of the favourites in Paris, having already won four titles - including tournaments in Prague and Madrid on clay this month - in 2018.
Things on the up for Kvitova
Kvitova's form going into the second grand slam of the season is a far cry to 2017, when the Czech was battling to overcome a serious hand injury suffered when she was attacked by an intruder in her own home. While grateful just to make it out on court last year, the 28-year-old is now seen as a potential champion after exceeding even her own expectations since coming back to the WTA Tour.
"It's been a great 12 months so far," Kvitova said at a media conference. "Of course, it was up and down, but to have [won] five titles since I came back, it's kind of unreal. Sometimes it's unreal for me, too, to sit and say, okay, I won four titles this year already, it's a little bit weird. But that's why I actually came back, not only to play tennis but to be better. And, yeah, I think I'm not playing bad tennis right now."
The two-time Wimbledon champion overcame the career-threatening injury in time to feature in the French capital last year but was understandably rusty, losing to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round. She admits appearing at the famous venue will bring back memories of what happened ahead of her opening match against Veronica Cepede Royg.
"It's different. It's not weird, I have to say. Weird was the last time playing here," she added. "Last year I was very happy to be back. I'm happy to be here again. Of course, the memories came back when I stepped in to Roland Garros. So everything just came back to my mind, and it's great to be kind of healthy, to be well prepared, to have the matches before, so it's a better situation."