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Asthma problems a threat for Kvitova
Jim Morton
16:51 AEST Fri Dec 28 2012

Queenslanders aren't alone wishing for an end to their hotter and more humid summer. Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is also desperate for a cool change.

Looking for a return to the heights of 2011 when she was the WTA player of the year, the lanky Czech's springboard into 2013 is being threatened by her asthma problems.

The world No.8, who started her amazing 2011 run with a surprise victory at the Brisbane International, is struggling with the high humidity this week in south-east Queensland.

Two years ago, the Brisbane weather was unseasonally cool and she claimed the title a day before the heavens opened and Pat Rafter Arena was swamped by the city's disastrous flood 48 hours later.

"I have some nice memories from 2011 when my career was going up," Kvitova said on Friday.

"It really started with this title in Brisbane so I'll aim to play similar tennis to then."

The humidity topped 80 per cent on a sweltering Brisbane afternoon as the 22-year-old cuddled koalas at the Lone Pine Sanctuary.

Kvitova struggled badly with her well-credentialled asthma condition in the US summer this year, when she was also troubled by an ankle problem, and regularly uses her Ventolin inhaler between games.

"The humidity is not great for me as I have asthma so I'm breathing tougher but that's part of me and I have to fight with this," she said.

"2011 wasn't as bad ... it wasn't that hot.

"Otherwise I'm feeling good and healthy."

Kvitova showed she can play well through adversity, helping the Czech Republic to their second straight Fed Cup triumph last month despite being as sick as a dog with a virus.

Although she dropped out of the top five in 2012, she still rates her year as solid - winning two WTA titles and making the semi-finals at the Australian Open and French Open.

A second title in her second start in Brisbane will require her to be in peak form and fitness considering eight of the world's top 10 are in the main draw.

A likely quarter-final would match her up against Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams or German world No.5 Angelique Kerber.

"It's not easy starting at the beginning and I know it will be really tough to replay the season of 2011 but I'm happy with (my game)."


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