Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has made the announcement tennis fans have been waiting for, a new coach. The recruit is 39-year-old Frantisek Cermak who is also Czech. Cermak began travelling with Kvitova at the BNP Paribas Open last month as a sparring partner but is now promoted to coach.
"I was thinking about what to do and I figured he could help me," Kvitova said in an interview with the Czech media earlier today. Kvitova made the news official via social media later.
Czech doubles specialist
Frantisek Cermak turned professional in 1998 and mainly competes in doubles on the ATP World Tour. His career is highlighted by the 2013 French Open mixed doubles title which he won with compatriot Lucie Hradecka who is also a good friend of Kvitova. They defeated the Franco-Canadian pairing of Kristina Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor to claim the title. It is Cermak's biggest title to date. Cermak was also part of the Davis Cup team which beat Spain in the 2012 final.
Throughout his career, he has lifted fifteen doubles titles with several partners. Among them include Czechs Leos Friedl, Michael Mertinak, Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely, Austrian Julian Knowle and Slovak Filip Polasek. His last doubles title came at the 2014 Kremlin Cup where he partnered Vesely. He owns a 410-315 record in the discipline.
Cermak, who is currently ranked 105th in doubles, will be coaching Kvitova until the end of the season.
Kvitova in 2016 so far
Kvitova, who is currently ranked seventh, endured a tough start to the 2016 season. After catching a stomach bug in Shenzhen which caused her to retire in her opening match of the year, she withdrew from the Apia International Sydney where she was the defending champion in order to recuperate.
Having entered the Australian Open with no matches under her belt, she bowed out in the second round to Daria Gavrilova. A week later, Kvitova announced that she and long-time coach David Kotyza had parted ways.
She then lost both her Fed Cup matches for the first time in her career in the first round tie against Romania, but the Czechs nevertheless advanced to the last four after securing the decisive doubles rubber. Things did not go better for the two-time Wimbledon champion as she lost early in both Dubai and Doha after that.
Kvitova looked to have steadied things when she reached her first quarterfinal of the year (her first since the 2015 US Open) at the BNP Paribas Open. It also marked the first time she has won back-to-back matches since the US Open too. She exited the Miami Open in the third round having struggled with humidity there in the past.
What next for Kvitova?
The pair will embark on their first tournament together at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart next week, which is one of Kvitova's favourite tournaments, although her recent record there shows otherwise. She is still in pursuit of an 18th career title and will seek to end a seven-month title drought there.
Cermak could employ his doubles skills to polish Kvitova's game which is based on raw power and talent and also help her with finding confidence and motivation on the court. With the season just four months old and another three Grand Slams to go, there is still time for Kvitova to make reparations and regain the form that has seen her win two Wimbledon titles.
It is never too late for Kvitova and if she does rediscover her old form soon, she could find herself laying her hands on titles and perhaps another Grand Slam trophy once again.