Cancel Grand Slams rather than playing behind close doors: Petra Kvitova

Updated: May 27, 2020, 09:33 IST | AFP | Prague

"We are here to reintroduce tennis not only to the Czech Republic, but also to the world," Kvitova said. The men's event will be played on clay

Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova

Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova said on Monday that she would prefer Grand Slams did not take place as opposed to playing them behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the eve of her court return in an all-Czech tournament Kvitova, 30, echoed the thoughts of Roger Federer, who said last week he would be against the idea of an empty Roland Garros or Flushing Meadows. "I have my age and of course I would like to play another Grand Slam, but if it's like this, I'd rather cancel them," Kvitova said.

"Playing a Grand Slam is the greatest thing there is and playing without fans who are our engine doesn't look nice to me and the Grand Slam doesn't deserve it," she added. This year's French Open has been moved to September, Wimbledon has been cancelled and the WTA tour will not resume until at least July 20 due to the virus. This week's competition in Prague has eight men and eight women in separate draws but there will be no spectators or handshakes. There will be referees and ball boys at the tournament but they will not hand towels to those on the court.

"We are here to reintroduce tennis not only to the Czech Republic, but also to the world," Kvitova said. The men's event will be played on clay. "It won't be the same thing as a regular tournament," said Jiri Vesely, the 65th-ranked top seed, who won this year's ATP tournament in Pune, India. "There are no points to play for, no plot, there will be no fans. But of course we are looking forward to the games and we'll try to play our best tennis," added Vesely.

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