Originally Posted by http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120917/WIRE/120919654?p=all&tc=pgall
Sarasota's Peschke doubles up on tennis career
SARASOTA - When Kveta Peschke first picked up a tennis racket, at the age of 6, the nearest court was at a club just a quick five-minute walk from her home in the eastern part of the Czech Republic.
Today, at the ripe old age of 37, Peschke's trip to a court is even more convenient. All she needs to do is take a few quick steps out the back door of her home in eastern Sarasota County and she can begin another long practice session on her own private hard court.
Success has its perks and Peschke has found her reward, with the help of a tennis racket, as one of the world's top doubles players.
At an age when most professional tennis players are on the sidelines recalling past triumphs, Peschke continues to compete. Not ready to leave the game, she remains excited about the present. And even guardedly confident about the future.
"It's a funny thing when you are playing against girls who are 20 and you are beating them," Peschke said. "It gives you satisfaction, because you are fit and you can do it."
A doubles specialist, Peschke — who appears as fit as she has ever been — has been having lots of laughs beating up on the younger generation with regularity.
Whether it is women's doubles or mixed doubles, Peschke has found her groove late in her career and has discovered a way to remain in the game while collecting money and memories.
Her latest achievement came at the U.S. Open a little more than a week ago when she teamed with Marcin Matkowski to reach the final of the mixed doubles event. The run to the final in this year's final Grand Slam tournament comes a little more than one year after she won her first Grand Slam title, teaming with Katarina Srebotnik to win women's doubles at Wimbledon. That triumph resulted in Peschke becoming the oldest woman to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
Though a Grand Slam title came late in her career, her success in doubles began quickly after Peschke made the conscious decision to concentrate on that part of the sport in 2007 — at the age of 32.
"We thought, I always played well in doubles and maybe this was a way we can still enjoy being a part of the sport," Peschke said about the decision she made with her husband. Tortsten. "We thought we would give it a chance for a while and see how it went."
Five years later it is still going. And going splendidly.
Peschke has earned nearly $4 million in a career that that has included 23 WTA doubles titles and eight more ITF wins. In addition to winning Wimbledon with Srebotnik the two combined to reach the doubles final at the French Open in 2010.
But maybe more impressive is that Peschke has reached the final in three U.S. Open tournaments — with three different partners.
In 2006 it was Martin Damm, who now lives in Bradenton. In 2010 she got there with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. And this month she reached the final with Matowski.
Three different years, three different partners. The only constant was Peschke.
At this year's U.S. Open, Peschke and Matowski held a pair of match points in the super tiebreaker before falling 6-7 (10-8), 6-1, 12-10 to Ekaterinia Makarova and Bruno Soares in the championship match.
"The super tiebreaker is always a little tricky," Peschke said. "It can go either way. We had two match points and couldn't make them.
"Sometimes match point can be the hardest to win. That hurt a lot."
That pain pales in comparison to the pair of knee surgeries she underwent early in her career and the abdominal injury she suffered in 2009. Injuries, along with the success she had when she did play doubles, played a part in the decision to concentrate on doubles.
"We just felt it would be a good idea to go in that direction," Peschke said. "We thought maybe doubles would not be as hard on the body, that maybe the body needed a break,"
And here it is 2012 and Peschke is near the top of her game.
Peschke picked Matowski just two weeks before the U.S. Open after Mike Bryan — who she had been playing with her in a couple of events — chose to stick with Lisa Raymond, who he won Wimbledon with earlier in the summer.
Changing partners is part of the process for many players and Peschke has chosen a new partner in women's doubles for next year. She will be teaming with Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who has won 11 doubles titles and has been ranked as high as No. 14 in singles in 2006. Groenefeld spent time in Sarasota this past week working with Peschke on their doubles strategy.
"We will see how it goes," Peschke said. "It seems very positive. We want to make some more titles."
Peschke has always had a penchant for doubles, even when she was concentrating on singles — where she reached a career-high ranking of No. 26 in 2005. By 2007, already in her 30s, she had played her last singles match on the WTA tour and was convinced her future was in doubles.
"I think my volleys are the best part of my game," she explains about her strengths in doubles. "And I have a strong return game."
What's more, she has what her husband Torstenclaims are the best hands on the women's tour as far as reflexes.
"When she is playing mixed, she is not scared," Torsten Peschke says. "A lot of the girls are scared because the man is so powerful. Kveta will not turn away."
"I love winning points against the men," Kveta admits.
Kveta Peschke chooses a tournament at Indian Wells in California and an event in Stuttgart, Germany as her favorite events on the tour. And While her win at Wimbledon remains the highlight of her career, perhaps Peschke's favorite match was a loss in the 2006 U.S. Open.
Peschke lists Martina Navratilova, who was born in Czechoslovakia, as her favorite player. In a touch of irony, Peschke played against her tennis idol in Navratilova's last match as a professional. Navratilova and Bob Bryan beat Peschke and Damm to win the U.S. Open mixed doubles crown. It was Navratilova's final Grand Slam title and came just a month before she turned 50.
"What she did was so impressive," Peschke said.
So does that mean Peschke might be still kicking around professional tennis at the age of 50?
"Fifty? I don't think so," Peschke says. "I will probably not be a second Martina.
We would like to focus on next year, and then we will see. You never like to say there is an end and players have a tough time calling it."
Though the traveling gets tougher as the years add up, at least Peschke doesn't have to go far to locate a practice court.