Who is Barbora Krejcikova? Five Things To Know About The New French Open Champion - UBITENNIS
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Who is Barbora Krejcikova? Five Things To Know About The New French Open Champion

Find out more about the multiple doubles champion who was once trained by the late Jana Novotna.

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A month ago Barbora Krejcikova was never considered to be a contender for a major title and her success as a singles player had been rather modest.

 

Then at the French Open the Czech stunned the women’s field by winning the title in what was a fairytale journey for the 25-year-old. En route to the title match she defeated seeded players Ekaterina Alexandrova (R2), Elina Svitolina (R3), Coco Gauff (QF) and Maria Sakkari (SF). Then in a nerve-stricken final she dismissed another seed in the shape of Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

Krejcikova has made headline news worldwide following her triumph at one of tennis’ biggest tournaments but how surprised should the sport be about her success?

Here are five things to know about Krejcikova.

1.It is not the first time she has triumphed at a Grand Slam

Prior to the start of the French Open Krejcikova was not ranked among the contenders to win. It was only the fifth time she has played in the main draw of a major as a singles player and she had only won one tournament title in her career which was in Strasbourg last month.

However, the Czech knows what it is like to win the big titles as she is an established doubles player who is on the verge of returning back to the No.1 spot. She has won eight WTA doubles trophies and seven of those were with compatriot Katerina Siniakova. Back in 2018 the Czech duo triumphed at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Furthermore, Krejcikova has won the Australian Open mixed doubles title three years in a row (2019-2021).

Krejcikova is also playing in the women’s doubles final at Roland Garros this year. Should she win, she would become the first player to achieve the double since Mary Pierce back in 2000.

2. A slice of Czech history

The Czech Republic is known for producing top players such as Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, Martina Navratilova* and Hana Mandlikova. However, Krejcikova’s success in Paris is the first time a player representing Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic has won the title since 1981. The year when Mandlikova won. It is only the second time in the Open Era (since 1968) a woman representing the Czech flag has won the title.

Krejcikova is also only the third player in history to have won the women’s French Open title whilst unseeded after Iga Swiatek (2020) and Jelena Ostapenko (2017).

*(Navratilova won her titles after switching allegiance to America).

3.The meteoric rise in rankings

Krejcikova made her official appearance in the WTA rankings back in 2011 at the age of 15. However, it wasn’t until last October that she broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time in her career. Since then she has continued to surge up the rankings by breaking into the top 40 in March. Now on a 12-match winning streak she will rise to a career high of 15th when the standings are updated on Monday. An increase of 18 places compared to where she was ranked prior to the start of the French Open.

image via wtatennis.com

4.The first time she has beaten a top 10 player was less than two months ago

Amid her status of an emerging threat on the women’s Tour, the 25-year-old had only ever defeated a top 10 player twice. Her first win was over Sofia Kenin at the 2021 Italian Open where she prevailed 6-1, 6-4. She followed up on that at the French Open when she upset Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2.

Krejcikova is 0-7 against players who are former world No.1s – losing to Garbine Muguruza, Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka once. She has also suffered multiple losses to Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova.

5.The Novotna influence

The story of how Krejcikova started to work with former tennis great Jana Novotna sounds like a movie script. She had read that the former Wimbledon champion was based in a town nearby to her. So as a young player with her parents she turned up to Novotna’s house asking for advice out of the blue.

“When I went there for the very first time I was nervous because she was such an amazing person, such a big tennis player, big athlete and everything. She was always just very nice, very warm. She wasn’t acting like she won so many titles, that she’s somebody special. She’s always acting like a normal person,” Krejcikova recounts.

The original goal was to seek guidance on how to switch from junior to professional tennis and if she should explore the world of college tennis. However, Novotna was more than willing to offer advice and ended up becoming Krejcikova’s coach until 2016 when she was forced to stop due to deteriorating health. Sadly a year later Novotna died at the age of 49 following a battle with cancer.

“I spent a lot of time with Jana before she died. Her last words to me were ‘enjoy tennis and try and win a Grand Slam’. I know she’s looking after me. All this is pretty much because she is looking after me.“

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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