LONDON (Reuters) - The Venus Rosewater Dish proved to be something of a poisoned chalice for Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova after her 2011 win but she says the difficult experience means she is now ready to cope with the pressure of a second title win.
The sixth-seeded Czech produced her best tennis on Centre Court on Saturday to dispatch a rising talent of the women’s game, Eugenie Bouchard, 6-3 6-0 in just 55 minutes.
Her demolition of the Canadian meant she repeated her triumph at the All England Club after three years of disappointing performances at major championships.
Kvitova said the pressure of that first title as a 21-year-old weighed heavily on her shoulders, but she was now much better prepared for the expectations that come with being a Wimbledon champion.
“There were ups and downs in the three years since I won here,” she told reporters. “There were times I didn’t think I could ever win another grand slam.
“The worse thing was the expectation, from me and the (people) outside, to play well.
“I know how it feels to play as a Wimbledon champion in the next tournament now. I didn’t do so well last time so I want to be more prepared for the next match. It was something new for me then but I will know how it feels and deal with it better now.”
Kvitova, who will rise to fourth in the rankings after Saturday’s win, reached the semi-finals of the Australian and French Opens in the year following her first Wimbledon win but failed to make the final four in the subsequent eight majors she competed in.
She credits her sports psychologist Michal Safar with helping her maintain her intensity through the seven rounds of this year’s tournament.
“He helped me a lot to handle the pressure and to focus in every moment in the match,” Kvitova said of Safar, who she has worked with since 2010.
“This tournament I played so well, maybe I can say that I played better than 2011.
“I played with the pressure. I was always the favorite of the match, and I still did a good job. It was very tough mentally and I’m just glad I had a mental coach here who helped me.”
Kvitova said she would savor the moment of being a twice champion before planning how she can ensure that this year’s triumph is a springboard to more titles, instead of being a burden.
“I’m enjoying it more than the first one. At the time I didn’t know how it was going to feel and how everything was going to be. It was surprising to me.
“This year, I’m so satisfied with that (performance) and it is more special for me that I showed I can win it again.”
Reporting By Sam Holden; editing by Clare Lovell