Petra is a Czech and Canadian professional tennis player and graduate of Penn State University. When we first encountered her, we were very impressed with her resilience and tenacity as she has had to grapple with serious illness and injuries during her career. Petra's favourite surface is clay and her career high ITF doubles ranking is 21st in the world. Welcome, Petra!
1. What is your proudest moment related to your primary sport?
My proudest moment was playing at the Rogers Cup, and enjoying every second of my match.
2. What are your current goals associated with your sport?
My goal is to reach the top 500 at the end of this year
3. Who do you idolise within your sport?
My idol is Roger Federer for the longest time. He has a very clean imagine and heʼs not controversial towards others (Heʼs respectful to his opponents even after a loss). His game style is so easy and effortless, his groundstrokes are compact, and his on-court demeanour is calm. Heʼs very graceful, well spoken, and heʼs always dressed to impress.
Roger is very consistent with his results, even after being a top player for over 15 years. His game style doesnʼt diminish even with all the pressure that comes with being a top five player. Heʼs just a remarkable person on and off the court, and I appreciate watching him play.
4. Which other sports do you play?
As a kid I was more adventurous and played almost every sport including soccer, swimming, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, and rope skipping (which I came first in Canada for when I was very young). Now, I enjoy ping pong, swimming, and soccer.
5. What are your favourite cross training activities?
My favourite cross training activities include spinning (biking), hiking, and rope skipping.
6. What do you do professionally?
I play tennis professionally.
7. How do you use your Epirus bag?
I use my Epirus bag for practice and for my matches during tournaments. I love this bag because it's simple and stylish! It's water resistant, very durable, and you can wear it on and off the tennis court.
8. Whatʼs the weirdest item you keep in your racket bag?
The weirdest item that I keep in my tennis bag are the coins that I have for good luck.
9. If you could change one rule in your sport, what would it be?
If I could change one rule, it would be to spread out the prize money so that more of it reaches the lower ranked players such that more professional tennis players could make a living.
10. Do you have any superstitions or quirks that are part of your routine?
When I was a kid I use to try to “not step on the lines” in between points. Now, I definitely donʼt have any extreme superstitions but if Iʼm winning I usually tend to keep the same rituals. I try to eat the same or train the same way as when Iʼm winning matches.
11. What is one controversial belief you have about your sport?
One controversial belief I have about tennis is the limited cheering for fans. I think in tennis you hear “Quiet, please,” continuously and I think that the WTA/ ATP should follow College tennis footsteps. In NCAA, the fans bring a lot of noise and cheering which is always more fun to hear and play around. I believe this would benefit the gameʼs appeal and bring more fans to our lovely sport.
12. What's one part of your sport that you know more about than most people?
I think something I know more about tennis than most people is going through adversity. In my tennis career, I have had a few setbacks including tearing my ACL when I was nine and being hospitalized two years ago. In my junior career I had to wear a knee brace from the age of nine to seventeen (until I had my ACL surgery) which gave my body limitations. I had to train and play my entire junior career with a knee brace, but rather than letting this dampen my enthusiasm, I learned the power of mental tenacity and intelligent tennis.
I also went through a setback two years ago when I was hospitalized in Europe. I didnʼt know if I would even be able to walk again, yet survive. I was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever and Post- streptococcal Reactive Arthritis. After several months passed by, I finally started to walk again. This battle taught me that life is very fragile, and just to enjoy every moment in life including on the tennis court.
Find out how Petra is faring in her quest to become top 500 on the WTA Tour in 2019 by following her on Instagram.