From London to the Maldives, WTA tennis champion Petra Kvitova shares what life is like on her constant tournament-hop around the world.
Whatâ€™s your favorite stop on the WTA circuit?
Definitely Wimbledon, for the grass courts. Grass is my favorite surface, and I have had some very special moments on those courts. I won my first Grand Slam title there in 2011, and one of the most satisfying moments of my career was when I won for the second time there this year. And the locker rooms there are the best.
The top seeds get to use the All England Club membersâ€™ locker rooms, which are really comfortable and cozy with everything you could ever needâ€” especially super-comfy sofas for when Iâ€™m waiting for my next match. I also stay in the same house in Wimbledon Village every year, and it has made London start to feel like home.
Where would you least mind finding yourself stranded by a missed connection?
Dubaiâ€™s airport is amazing. There are so many shops, I could never get bored there. I actually took a tour of the Dubai Duty Free area this yearâ€”there are around 100 shops including my favorite, Michael Kors.
Whatâ€™s always on your packing list?
I always make sure I have good music to listen to and a good book. I am reading Li Naâ€™s autobiography at the moment, Li Na: My Life; sheâ€™s a good friend of mine, so itâ€™s really interesting. And I bring my iPad with me for Skype calls. It helps me stay in touch with my family and friends while Iâ€™m on the road.
Are there any global brands you look for when traveling?
I love sushi, and I go to a Nobu restaurant whenever I can. Theyâ€™re everywhere now, from London to Dubai to Los Angeles. Also in California, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden recently underwent a major redesign, and now thereâ€™s a Nobu there too. When I was there for the BNP Paribas Open in March, I actually got the chance to make sushi alongside the restaurantâ€™s executive chef, Gregorio Stephenson. He taught me how to make a shrimp tempura hand roll. Itâ€™s a lot harder than it looks, but I donâ€™t think I did too badly for my first try!
Where can you be found during your off-season?
When I want to relax and take my mind somewhere far away from tennis, I head to the beach. I visited the Maldives once and loved itâ€”itâ€™s so beautiful there. I was also lucky to get invited to Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands during last winterâ€™s off-season to play in the Necker Cup. Itâ€™s a great philanthropic tennis tournament hosted by Richard Branson, but itâ€™s more about coming together to raise money for good causes rather than playing to win. It was really fun to spend some time with the WTA girls thereâ€”Ana Ivanovic, Sorana Cirstea, and Daniela Hantuchova.
And what is the best part about returning home?
I live in a tiny town called Fulnek in the Czech Republic. There isnâ€™t much to do there, but thatâ€™s what I love most about itâ€”being able to enjoy my mumâ€™s cooking, seeing all of my family and friends, and sleeping in my own bed.
Kvitova will compete in the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, heldÂ Oct. 17â€“26 at the Singapore Sports HubÂ
Â This article originally appeared in theÂ October/NovemberÂ print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śHolding Courtâ€ť)