MELBOURNE - Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has defended her hard court credentials after another failure at the Australian Open saw her crash out to unseeded American teenager Madison Keys.
The 24-year-old Czech arrived at Melbourne Park as the fourth seed but tumbled out in the third round, the latest in a string of early exits at the tournament, including a humiliating opening round defeat last year.
Kvitova's grass court prowess in unquestioned after two Wimbledon triumphs, but her Australian results, coupled with an underwhelming record at the US Open, have raised questions about her ability on hard courts.
"I think hard courts is a good surface for me, as well," she insisted, pointing to her record at a number of WTA non-Grand Slam events.
"I had a great results past few years. I just need to employ it in the Grand Slams, try to be more fitter again. I don't know, the serve is the key. I need to work on it every day and we'll see." Kvitova said her shock loss to the big-hitting Keys was a huge disappointment but still felt she was making progress.
"In the end of the day I did better than the last year and the year before, so I need to be happy, but I'm not," she said.
"I expected a little bit more from this tournament unfortunately... (but) the life in tennis still continues."