|Posted on December 30, 2011 at 7:40 AM|
Tomas training - HEAD YouTek™ IG Instinct MP tennis racquet
Top-seeded Czech Republic looking for second Cup
Perth (Australia) - Friday, December 30, 2011
By Chris Pike
Hyundai Hopman Cup No. 1 seeds from the Czech Republic Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych arrive in Perth as the world's No. 2 and 7 respectively, but they are just looking forward to teaming together to attempt to win their nation's second Cup.
Kvitova arrives in Perth as the hottest player in the women's game after a dream year in 2011 and her partner Berdych is one of the biggest guns on the ATP Tour.
They earned the No. 1 seeding in what is a star-studded field as Kvitova and Berdych attempt to replicate what Jana Novotna and Petr Korda did back in 1994 by winning the Hopman Cup for the Czech Republic.
Kvitova doesn’t feel pressure as top-seeds, though, and is just looking forward to her first appearance in Perth and to team with Berdych.
"I'm not feeling some pressure on our back, so we just go out to enjoy every match we play," Kvitova said.
"I chose to come here because I wanted to play with Tomas and I think it's great preparation for the Australian Open. I'm glad to be here."
Kvitova's 2011 truly was a year that any rising tennis youngster could only dream of.
By the end of it, she had claimed six Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles, including of course Wimbledon and the season-ending championships, not to mention leading the Czech Republic to the Fed Cup.
That all led to the 21-year-old being named ITF World Champion and WTA Player of the Year, so she arrives on debut at the Hopman Cup on a high, but she knows that there are still things out there for her to achieve so she won't be resting on her laurels no matter how good 2011 was.
"I mean I just focus only on my practising on each part of my game and now I was ready too and really it’s a dream everything I was able to achieve," she said.
"Being No. 1 isn't really a goal, I am just focusing on improving. But just looking at that, it’s still a long way to be No. 1. I mean she’s (Caroline Wozniacki) playing great and it depends how it’s going."
While for many the highlight of this week's tournament will be when the world No. 2 Kvitova takes on the top-ranked Wozniacki on Friday, the Czech has two tough singles encounters first.
That begins on Monday against Bulgaria and Tsvetana Pironkova and continues on Wednesday evening against the USA's Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
"I’m looking forward to every match I play here and for the mixed too, so I mean it doesn’t matter who will be on the other side," she said.
"It really doesn’t matter for me who I play. I know that against Caroline it’s always tough to play her and we play good matches against each other, but my other matches will be tough too this week."
Berdych is no stranger to the Burswood Dome having played twice previously alongside Lucie Safarova and while he hasn’t played mixed doubles with Kvitova before, he is looking forward to it.
"No we have not played any together before. We will play our first here and I have to just say that I am looking forward to that. It’s going to be fun," Berdych said.
Berdych arrives for his third Hyundai Hopman Cup appearance ranked No. 7 in the world just one slot lower than his career-best mark that he first achieved in October 2010.
That came about following a 2010 that saw him make the Wimbledon final in his best Grand Slam result to date, but he still felt like his 2011 surpassed it with his sixth career title win in Beijing and a string of consistently good results throughout the year.
Now he hopes to improve on his ranking again in 2012.
"Of course it’s one of the goals for the next season. You know it was the first time last year that I moved to the top 10. For this season the goal was to try to hold the position and maybe move a bit higher, but definitely it’s a goal for the next season," he said.
"I would say that the season was better than 2010. I had a Grand Slam final and semis in Paris, but there was just a few results during the season but then there was a bit of up and down. Actually this season was much more consistent. The results were much better. I won another title during the year so I think that this season was better than 2010."
Berdych has had just about a month off after the ATP World Tour finals in London where he lost in the semi finals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after recording good wins over Janko Tipsarevic and David Ferrer.
He felt good by the end of the season and now is still feeling good coming into 2012 starting here in Perth.
"I can say that I feel good. Even though it makes the season long, I think that’s always the better option," Berdych said.
"To have a long season that means you play well and in London for the World Tour finals and then just take a few days or two weeks off before getting ready for a new season. I feel good and ready for the start of the year."