Kvitova has winning recipe
Petra Kvitova is being backed to add another crown at SW19 this summer after admitting winning Wimbledon last year changed her life.
It is hard to believe that someone can win their first grand slam on a diet of rice, milk and pineapple, but that is exactly what Petra Kvitova did last year at Wimbledon, and she is now being backed to add another crown at SW19 this summer.
Kvitova arrived at Wimbledon as a relative unknown last year. Yes, she had reached the semi-finals in 2010, but no one fancied her to go all the way in 2011, certainly not with the ease with which she did.
The 22-year-old, seeded eighth, lost just two sets in the tournament and swept aside Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova before completing what looked like a routine straight-sets win over Maria Sharapova in the final.
She may have eased past the four-time grand slam winner on Centre Court, but afterwards she looked perplexed and somewhat unsettled by the interest in her and struggled to deal with the media spotlight that now shone so brightly on her.
Twelve months on, her life has changed completely and she admits it has taken a lot of getting used to.
"Everything changed (after Wimbledon)," she said.
"I get recognised in the street and I have had a lot things to do off the court, a lot of media.
"It was tough for me to get used to this."
There are certain perks to being Wimbledon champion, however.
The £1.1million cheque she received for lifting the Venus Rosewater dish obviously helped boost her bank balance and she now has a private jet to transport her across the globe during the gruelling 10-month long season.
"I think the private jet is incredible every time it is there," she said.
"I have to say that's one thing that has helped me a lot. If I travel by car some places can take me seven hours to travel to but if I take the jet it can take me about two hours so I have more time to relax."
Even though she can command a plane at will, the fact that Kvitova still drives a Skoda shows she is certainly no diva.
The left-hander's grounded personality comes as a result of the upbringing she had in Fulnek, a small village in the north-east of the Czech Republic.
It was there that Kvitova's father Jiri, a teacher, taught her how to play, practising at the local tennis club that consisted of four courts, a wooden hut, and no toilets.
A coach saw her powerful ground strokes when she was 16 and she joined an academy in Prostejov, an hour's drive away.
From there she became a professional, employed David Kotyza as her coach and went on to become a real force in the game.
Kotyza helped her to victory at SW19 on the court, and surprisingly in the kitchen too.
"Last year I was so tired that my coach cooked for me every day," Kvitova explained.
"He cooked me rice, with milk so it wasn't dry, and with pineapple. I ate only this for 14 days. It was terrible."
It may be a strange choice of diet, but it worked, and respected figures within the game believe last year's victory will not be Kvitova's last.
"I think Petra will win more than one," said nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova.
"This could be the first of several."
Kvitova goes into this year's tournament ranked fourth in the world.
Whilst that is a marked improvement on her position this time last year, such is the pressure of being Wimbledon champion, many had expected her to go on and win another major by now and top the rankings.
She followed up her win at SW19 in the worst possible fashion.
Kvitova lost to world number 48 Alexandra Dulgheru in the first round of the US Open, becoming the first grand slam champion to lose in the first round of the following major without winning a set.
She recovered by helping the Czech Republic to victory in the Fed Cup, however, and made the last four of the Australian Open, where she lost to Sharapova.
The Russian gained yet more revenge on Kvitova when she knocked her out of the French Open at the same stage last week, but grass is the Czech's favourite surface, and few would bet against her retaining her crown at SW19 on July 7.