Getting to Know: Petra Kvitova

Defending New Haven Open Champion Petra Kvitova is currently in England attempting to regain the Wimbledon title she won in 2011. The World No. 8 took time out of her training to answer some questions about her off-court life and her eagerness to return to New Haven in August.

How do you feel about coming back to compete in the 2013 New Haven Open? 

I am really excited. I had such a great time there last year and it’s always special to arrive at a tournament as defending champion. The tournament staff were so nice there and I like that it’s relaxed before heading to New York, which can be a bit crazy 😉

What was your best memory about your run to the New Haven Open title in 2012? 

Tough question. Every match was a battle and I remember the final against Kirilenko when I fought a lot. Against Lucie I played really well, that was probably my best match there.

What about the New Haven Open makes it a special event for you? 

I would definitely say the quiet atmosphere, everything is close and easy, the lovely tournament director Anne – and great facilities. So everything really!

SB1_4817

New Haven is known for its great restaurants, where are some of your favorite places to eat in town?

Well my favourite food is sushi and I remember going to a great sushi restaurant near the Study Hotel – I think it was called Miya’s.

From your Facebook Page and brand new website, we see that you have been having some fun off the court this year! When you get free time, what have you been doing to let loose and relax? 

Oh, when I am home I liked to spend time with my niece and nephew, I like to go and watch some live sports – like football and ice hockey – I go to the cinema and of course I love to shop, like every girl!

What music have you been listening to lately? What books have you been reading? 

Pink’s latest CD;  Headhunters by Jo Nesbo

In some of your most passionate moments on court (like after you crack a big forehand winner), you say “pojd.” Can you explain what that means? 

Haha! Yes, it just means ‘come on’!

What are your goals for the rest of the WTA season and the 2013 New Haven Open?

I don’t really like setting specific goals as I focus more on my performance on court and how I am feeling. If I am playing good tennis I know I can win matches, so I try to stay healthy and just fight hard to win every match I play.

New+Haven+Open+At+Yale+Day+9+JEH7Xpb4hYrx

Advertisements

Wimbledon Begins – Blogger Nicholas McCarvel

2013 New Haven Open Blogger Nicholas McCarvel is on-site at Wimbledon for the next fortnight and will check in every so often with insider perspective of the action in SW19. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @NickMcCarvel.

There is no place in the sporting world quite like Wimbledon. The modern-day version of the historic event that is now in its 127th running keeps every bit of tradition fans would want and expect it to, yet somehow has transitioned itself to a modern-day marvel that is one of tennis’ four biggest events.

Monday The Championships 2013 kicked off at the All England Club in London’s SW19, again swarmed by the queue-loving public and Britain’s upper crust in the Royal Box. Pippa Middleton was there, as was the Duke of Kent and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

© New Haven Open/Billie Weiss

© New Haven Open/Billie Weiss

But across the way from the Royal Box, the players’ restaurant in the Millenium Building hummed with action all day long, as it does for a majority of the first week of Wimbledon.

Four-time New Haven Open Champison Caroline Wozniacki made her way through with boyfriend, professional golfer and frequent New Haven companion Rory McIlroy in tow, and Roger Federer passed by like a proud property owner – it has seemed as though the Swiss man has ruled these grounds for the last decade, hasn’t it?Nothing, however, tops the tennis. Up-and-comer Monica Puig produced the shock of the day on the women’s side, and from up above Court 18 watching her fall to her knees was a special moment, the 19-year-old beating No.5 seed Sara Errani in her Wimbledon debut.

Grass isn’t a surface that the Italian is a natural on, nor is it for the other No.5 seed that got knocked out this day – Rafael Nadal. Though Rafa has been the Champion here twice before, he looked uncomfortable in a straight-sets loss to unheralded Steve Darcis on No.1 Court. He’s 1-2 at Wimbledon in the last two years.

The traditions that lie in Wimbledon aren’t just those of afternoon tea, Royal Box sightings and the societal elite: there’s the queue, Henman Hill (or do you prefer Murray Mound?) and the ever-present public belovedness of a tournament that isn’t just a tennis event, but a national celebration.

Sunday before Wimbledon began officials shut down entrance to the queue (the line that members of the public can use to get Centre Court, No.1 Court and grounds tickets) because it was already too long.

A tournament with a tradition so great that people sleep overnight in tents for it? Sounds good to us.

Caroline Wozniacki and the New Haven Open: A Retrospect

Earlier today, we announced that four-time Champion Caroline Wozniacki will return to play at the New Haven Open for the sixth straight year. The delightful Dane, who has amassed a staggering 20-1 record at the Connecticut Tennis Center, is not only known for her on-court prowess in New Haven, but also for her engagement in the local community – especially Yale.

It all started the day before Caroline won her first New Haven Open title, and second WTA title of her career, back in 2008. Just 18 years old at the time, she wanted to take a tour of the historic Yale campus, where many students around her age were currently studying.

“I almost wish I was going to Yale,” she quipped after exploring the gothic architecture of the buildings and hearing about the world class education those who attend the prestigious Ivy League institution receive. But it seemed as if she made the right decision in pursuing tennis, as Caroline returned to New Haven the very next year ranked in the world’s top 10.

In 2009, she, along with fellow top-10er Flavia Pennetta, invaded the historic Yale Bowl, where the football team plays its home games, to play tennis on the world’s largest grass court.

 

This is when the relationship blossomed between her and Yale football. After filming the activities in the Yale Bowl, the coach of the Yale football team asked Caroline to return to speak with the men of the Yale football team about life as an elite, professional athlete. Caroline enthusiastically accepted the opportunity. She talked about dealing with adversity by always moving forward and posed for a photo with the eager team. The very next year, in 2010, the entire football team poured onto the Stadium Court after one of Caroline’s wins to take a photo which has become an iconic image in Connecticut sports.

Wozniacki and Yale FB (2)

By 2011, Caroline had risen to No. 1 in the world and No. 1 in the hearts of fans. But the citizens of New Haven were not the only ones doting on her at that time. Rumors had been circulating all summer that Caroline had been romantically involved with the reigning U.S. Open (of golf) champion, Rory McIlroy.

Those rumors were confirmed after a match win on Stadium Court. The Yale football team again flooded the court for the photo op that had now become tradition, but a new face was in that crowd this time. McIlroy, donned in a Yale football jersey, surprised his girlfriend on court with a big smooch, much to the delight of the fans and the dismay of the group of potential suitors otherwise known as the young men of Yale football.

web-9753

In 2012, McIlroy once again accompanied Caroline to the New Haven Open, but wanted to get in on the action in New Haven for himself. Armed with a driver, the Northern Ireland native took to the Yale Bowl to test out his aim – using not a golf ball, but a tennis ball. As Caroline watched, cheered and jeered from the sidelines, McIlroy successfully hit the official tennis ball of the New Haven Open through one of the concourse tunnels inside the stadium.

 

Now that the “Queen of New Haven” is slated to be back again in August, fans can delight in knowing that one of the friendliest smiles in sports will once again bring the sunshine to New Haven.