Biofile with Karel Novacek

Status: Winner of 13 ATP singles titles; reached career-high ranking of #8 (1991). Competed in 1991 Masters/ATP World Championships in Frankfurt, Germany. Holds career wins over Becker, Muster, Rios, Sampras, Stich, Edberg, Santoro, J. McEnroe, Vilas,, A. Gomez, Costa, Wilander, Pernfors, Cahill, Larsson, Fibak, Medvedev.

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 190

DOB: March 30, 1965 In: Prostejov, Czech Republic

First Tennis Memory: “Watching Jan Kodes winning a Davis Cup match in Prague and I believe it was against Tony Roche. I was maybe eight or nine. After the match, I went to my club, lined up the court, went to play and pretended I was Kodes. I remember.”

Tennis Inspirations: “There was many. Inspirations I had was you are alone in the court and you are responsible what you do – it’s like running your own small business. There’s no government help – it’s just you and the opponent. And just deal with it. I was playing also team sports. The inspiration was being alone and accountable.”

Hobbies/Leisure Activities: “I work in private banking so I love the world of money. At the same time, I like soccer, hockey.”

Favorite Movie: “Once Upon A Time In America.”

Favorite Meal: “Fried cheese – special meal in Czech Republic.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Vanilla.”

Current Car: “Mercedes station wagon (blue).”

Greatest Sports Moment: “1991 tournament in Moscow – inaugural event – I won my first round (d. Udo Riglewski) and I qualified for Masters. That was really big for me to qualify for Masters.”

Most Painful Moment: “Losing to Richard Krajicek in quarterfinal of French Open. Five sets (63 36 63 36 46 in 1993).”

Favorite Tournaments: “French Open, U.S. Open.”

Closest Tennis Friend(s): “Mats Wilander.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “Yannick Noah – I want to say funny for his performance. I once watched in Basel live, second round match between Mansour Bahrami and Yannick Noah. It was something which I don’t think it’s beatable [smiles]. It was amazing. It was just so much fun.”

Toughest Competitors: “Just so many. Edberg was just so tough to beat. There’s so many but I’m going to pick one – Stefan Edberg.”

Funny Tennis Memory: “I can’t think about one now, I’m sorry.”

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: “Well, there’s a few. I don’t want to name the players, it would be unfair. In the game there are a few embarrassing moments I saw around the courts, yeah. For example…actually I have one about me. I played a match against Pavel Slozil in Bratislava, it was the Czech Open. And I broke the strings of all my racquets. And I had no racquets to play with, so I had to borrow racquets from a friend. That was pretty embarrassing. (Lose the match?) I lost the match.”

Strangest Match: “Yeah, I played a few, like all of us. I was able to win a match when I was down 60 50, 40-15. Imagine that. It was before professional, during Czech junior. And I played actually against my biggest rival (Ivo Pastika). I was tanking. And then I hit some amazing shots. Then I was thinking it again and again. And I actually start to win. I just think my story to the match [smiles].”

Favorite Players To Watch: “Nadal, Federer, Berdych. Another player I enjoyed to watch was Marcelo Rios. As a tennis player you don’t go out much to watch other players, because for reasons, our egos, and what have you. He was one of them I went out to watch him play. He was so much fun to see him play. Even with his outburts and what have you, it was fun to watch him.”

Which Match Did You Feel At Your Absolute Best: “I beat, here on grandstand, Andrei Medvedev, second round, 1994. And Mats Wilander was coaching me then and he said back then he never saw me play like that. Everything I hit was on the line, in the court, unbelievable performance. 63 62 62. He was #5 in the world, I killed him, totally. I went to semifinals, lost to Stich.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “There’s qualities – to be honest – not making up stories. Honest about what you are, which really could graduate into so many things, like if you’re honest and confident, those are really great qualities. Presumably, somebody smart, honest and confident is going to be very successful in his or her career, whatever it is.”


  • Malin Nilsson · August 27, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Interesting interview – would love to see more of the players from the 80’s and 90’s! Do you have a BioFile of Jonas Svensson or Anders Järryd?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    No sorry Malin I don’t. But if I ever get the chance to, you will find them posted at Actually I an scheduled to interview Peter Lundgren today for my Rios book and I will try to see if he can put me in contact with them. Will do a Lundgren Biofile today as well.

  • Malin · August 30, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Sounds great – thanks so much! Best wishes to Peter with his coaching work.



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