PRAGUE — Tasked with leading the Czech Republic to victory in another home Fed Cup final this weekend, Petra Kvitova said the considerable pressure from compatriots is much less than what she puts on herself.
The Czechs go after their third title in four years, with Germany on the other side of the indoor hard court at O2 Arena.
The ”beautiful memories” of titles in 2011 and 2012, the republic’s first since the end of communist rule, drives Kvitova to help set up a third victory party.
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”It’s not often we get to celebrate as a team. I love this competition and this team,” the Wimbledon champion said.
Despite the presence of family and friends, and huge expectations and support from fellow Czechs, Kvitova said: ”It’s a lot of pressure on me in the Fed Cup, but it’s more pressure from myself when we are playing at home. Everybody is expecting that I make it two points, and that’s what I will try to do.”
Kvitova said she was fatigued after the WTA Finals in Singapore, where she failed to advance from the group stage nearly two weeks ago. A little rest, and the comforts of home, have reinvigorated her to put an exclamation point on a stellar season including her second grand slam title, two other titles, and more than $5 million in prize money.
Ranked No. 3, Kvitova is favored to edge Germany’s Angelique Kerber (10th) and Andrea Petkovic (14th), and hope either rising star Karolina Pliskova, in her Fed Cup debut, or Lucie Safarova, who clinched the 2012 final victory, or doubles player Lucie Hradecka can come through.
Prague and the indoor court don’t faze the Germans, who won both of their previous ties in Slovakia and Australia to reach their first final since 1992.
Petkovic comes into the final having won the Tournament of Champions in Bulgaria on Sunday for her third WTA title of the year.
”I feel much more confident,” Petkovic said.
Kerber, the German No. 1, has won five straight singles in Fed Cup, and has beaten Kvitova twice on tour. Sabine Lisicki and Julia Goerges, both playing Fed Cup since 2008, are also in the team.
Captain Barbara Rittner is attempting to become the fourth woman to win the Fed Cup as a player and captain. She was in the last German team to triumph, 22 years ago.
The Czechs have a 6-1 winning record against Germany.