#CoronavirusPandemic: Champion Petra Kvitova hails 'bizarre' Czech tournament
Petra Kvitova triumphed in the women's draw at an all-Czech tournament as the sports world slowly returns amid the coronavirus pandemic which caused a lockdown across the globe. Kvitova went on the win the Czech Tennis President's Cup held in Prague. The world number 12 hailed Prague's first post-lockdown tennis tournament, which offered a plethora of bizarre moments. Here's more.
The tournament feature the nation's top men's and women's players without fans. Ball boys and girls were wearing gloves and face masks. More tennis tournaments are planned elsewhere, while some exhibition events without fans have already been played in nations such as Germany and the United States. Tennis was earlier suspended in March amid the COVID-19 crisis.
"The gloves, face masks, the fact nobody handed us the towels, no handshakes, that was definitely bizarre," said two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova as per AFP. "And playing without people, the atmosphere was not exactly what we are used to," added the 30-year-old. Kvitova beat Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-3 in the final disrupted by rain.
The rain even made organizers contemplate moving the final to a nearby hall comprising two courts right next to each other - one ready for the match the other serving as the press center. The event was held behind closed doors. On the court, the line judges had to wear face masks as well. Players wore face masks all the way to the court.
Kvitova said she hopes this will mark the beginning of a return to normal for tennis. "Given the circumstances and the pandemic, it was a wonderful tournament," said Kvitova. "It's great that something is happening again. I hope this will mark the beginning of a return to normal for the tennis world."
"I guess this was the most bizarre thing, wearing the masks. And that you can't shake hands with the opponent and the umpire," said Barbora Strycova, who crashed out in the semi-final.