Of all the contemporary world’s many ways for telling a story, Instagram was the place for Petra Kvitova to announce she had entered Roland Garros. Attacked at her home in December – an attack that included significant damage to tendons and nerves in her racquet-toting left hand – Kvitova was told by her doctors that it would be six months before she could compete again.
My thinking was that Kvitova’s return to the WTA would happen just after Roland Garros. Having won two Wimbledon titles, it seemed a natural for Kvitova to begin on the grass, at low-key, Petra-friendly venues such as Nottingham, Birmingham or Eastbourne. Perhaps that’s still the case, as evidenced by Kvitova’s statement regarding her potential arrival in Paris: "My name will appear on the entry list for Roland Garros tomorrow because, as the entry deadline approached, I had made good progress in my recovery process and I want to give myself every last opportunity to be able to compete at one of my favorite events,” she wrote. "This unfortunately does not mean necessarily that I will be ready to play in Paris, but that I'm doing everything possible to give myself the chance and keep a positive mindset."
Fair enough. Why not enter the French Open and see how things go? As May gets underway, should Kvitova feel healthy, she might well take a wild card into Madrid – a title she won in 2015, beating Serena Williams along the way – or Rome.
Kvitova lost last year at Roland Garros in the rather baffling manner that has often defined her career. Up against #108 ranked Shelby Rogers in the third round, Kvitova lost by this rare and bizarre score: 6-0, 6-7, 6-0.
Of course given the traumas of the last year, in Kvitova’s mind that match likely took place a million years ago.
Kvitova has long been a tennis enigma: Skilled, gracious and likeable, her approach to competition is often a rollercoaster. Be it over the course of a tournament, a match or even a point, it’s hard to find the fixed moment of consistency in her game. Consider Kvitova the opposite, for example, of the pit bull-like Dominika Cibulkova. Though of course Kvitova’s physical recovery has been a priority throughout 2017, one hopes she’s also been able to address the mental issues that if resolved, can make her a sustainable, top-tier player.