Reputation Lessons for Women from Petra Kvitová


Watching tennis on a TV screen didn’t tell me much until this weekend. My home country Romania is a football passionate and except for the rarer and rarer outbursts of happiness for our gymnasts, there aren’t many sports that bring Romanians in front of the TV.

However, over the weekend I got stuck watching Petra Kvitová winning the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Championship. From a communicator’s perspective, Petra has an impressive story to tell that can embed lessons for even the most skillful female CEOs.

She is turning 22 next March. Currently, she’s No. 2 in world rankings of female tennis players. On Sunday (Oct. 30) she won a pretty tough yet well-deserved victory in Istanbul, Turkey, in the finals of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Championship.

This year, Kvitová has won six titles, the same number as No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and twice as many as her counterpart, the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. For a victory-led player, the next step would be natural: to become number one as soon as possible.
Yet Kvitová employs her usual cold blood and modesty to say that’s a matter for the future. “For the moment I don’t trouble my mind too much with it,” she said.
How can this relaxed behavior inspire the competition-driven women CEOs that take more and more seats in the Olympus of corporate management in the Czech Republic and elsewhere?

There are a few things that women can learn from Kvitová the champion.

  1. Hard work. Kvitová has been training long years, first with her father, then in a professional environment. No rewards come easily, and Petra, inspired by her model, the Czechoslovak tennis player Martina Navrátilová, pursued in her training work in order to achieve the highest ranks in her discipline.
  2. Focus. Seeing Kvitová playing is a show in itself. Her eyes are focused on the moves of her counterpart. Her body is tensed, ready, one with the racket. This is what makes her play so powerful. She is also aware of her advantages like her left-hand service and knows how to make best use of them.
  3. Emotion management and balance. Kvitová features emotions that she knows how to keep under control. You can’t say she’s emotionless when you hear her shouts, but she is also not totally emotion-driven. It’s easy to imagine her in a position of top control when you see her service. Emotion management is one tough lesson for many women managers who mix personal gut feelings with professional priorities in a total confusion for everyone.
  4. Honesty. Kvitová didn’t bother to hide her relationship with a boyfriend who is several years younger than she is. “He’s a man, after all,” she replied and left the matter alone. Her “lightness of being” is refreshing and reminds of Milan Kundera, whose spirit is so dear to many Czechs.
  5. Modesty. Kvitová accepts her victories and failures with no falsity. No big ego, she remains natural and enjoys the outcome of her hard work.“I didn't expect that I would be sitting here as a champion. It’s really a big step for me,” she said, quoted by The Guardian. According to the British daily, she attributes her achievements this year to improvements not only in her game, but also in fitness and mental strength. Staying healthy was the key, along with the support of her coach David Kotyza and the rest of her team.
  6. Enjoyment. If you heard her shout of victory at the end of the WTA match, you know that Kvitová knows how to enjoy her achievement. It’s a part that many women entrepreneurs or CEOs forget after a long run towards success. Knowing how to enjoy a true victory is also something that we can learn from Kvitová.

More than for female CEOs, Kvitová can become a true inspiration for a whole generation of young Czechs who live in a society where leading role models are rarer than hen’s teeth.

What does she need to do in order to stay a role model?

  1. Remain natural. Money has the gift to boost egos, and big egos have been a trap for many talented sportsmen so far.
  2. Stay honest. There is nothing more beautiful that somebody who has the guts to say things the way they are.
  3. Stay focused. In a consumerist society with no real lighthouse, being focused is a most valuable asset.
  4. Become aware of her potential beyond the court.When Kvitová acknowledges the impact her image can make on young Czechs, she can do miracles with it.
  5. Communicate more. In Czech and English, in media and social media, an inspired leader can face the voice of the others. In any case, Kvitová’s story that erupted this year is far from over. The direction taken by the lessons she can teach is now fully in her hands.


I focus on strategic communications, emotional and systemic intelligence and personal and organization leadership. I help leaders and future leaders to develop their strategic communication skills, to build reputable personal brands and to boost their team and organizational leadership. I support individuals, teams and organizations through advisory, training, coaching and mentoring services.

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