Apr/19

5

Inspired Krejcikova Into Innisbrook Semis

 

By Scoop Malinowski

Barbora Krejcikova was 18 years old and about to embark on her WTA pro career after a strong junior career which was highlighted by a no. 3 ITF ranking and three junior Grand Slam doubles titles.

Krejcikova read that Novotna was living in a village called Omice, a short drive from her own home in Brno. So she drove with her parents and found Novotna’s house. The 1998 Wimbledon champion was outside walking her dog.

Ranked outside the top 300 in the WTA at the time, Krejcikova had written a letter to ask Novotna for some help and guidance as she was about to enter the pro ranks. Novotna immediately warmed to the idea and expressed an interest to travel with Krejcikova and help the young player, guide her to improve and get better. Novotna expressed her love for the game and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

They began the union in 2014 and trained together for three years until Novotna’s health declined in 2016. Krejcikova was with Novotna from age 18 to 21. Novotna passed away in 2017.

“For me it was the most inspiring years when she was coaching me. It was amazing,” Krejcikova said in our interview yesterday.

The inspiration and wisdom would seen pay major dividends. Early in 2018, Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova pulled off a magical Miami Open victory vs the high ranked Chan sisters, fighting back from five match points down at 9-4 to win the match tiebreak. Krejcikova and Siniakova rode that wave of momentum all the way to the Miami Open final. Then they won the next two Grand Slam doubles events they played in 2018 – Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Krejcikova achieved the WTA world no. 1 doubles ranking last October with Siniakova.

Krejcikova added an Australian Open mixed doubles title this year with Rajeev Ram.

Now the 23-year-old Krejcikova is aiming to improve her singles status. She is ranked 209. This week Krejcikova is playing the Innisbrook Open, an ITF $80,000 event in Palm Harbor, Florida. She has won three rounds this week – defeating Ingrid Neel 57 62 60, Sanaz Marand 61 75 and Whitney Osuigwe 64 62 to reach the semifinals tomorrow.

With the spirit of Jana Novotna with her, Krejcikova has an extra energy an extra spark, not unlike Mike Tyson and his fatherly trainer Cus D’Amato, Pete Sampras and Tim Gullickson.

And it all originated from Krejcikova’s decision to take matters into her own hands and make a spontaneous, personal visit to the home of a legendary tennis champion.

 

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9 comments

  • catherine · April 6, 2019 at 1:29 am

    Scoop – interesting story and something to add to Novotna’s continuing legend as an inspirational figure in Czech tennis and beyond.

  • Hartt · April 6, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Scoop, thanks for this lovely story. I will be paying more attention to Krejcikova now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 6, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Thanks Catherine, yes it’s a special, straight out of a movie scene story. The whole story would make an interesting movie.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 6, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Hartt, thank you, we all will. It’s a touching story. Krejcikova was not on my tennis radar before meeting her but now she is. I will drive up the hour to watch the semis today.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 6, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Krejcikova won today in SS vs a Hungarian, she will play Nicole Gibbs, who also won in three sets. Did a Biofile with Gibbsy. Ingrid Neel and Quin Gleason won the doubles, coming back from 4-1 down in the match tiebreaker, after a very bad forehand volley miss into the wide open court by Amanmuradova went long. That bad miss made it 4-2 instead of a commanding 5-1. 10-8 was the final score for the Americans vs Agkal and Lizette Cabrera.

  • Hartt · April 7, 2019 at 7:22 am

    I saw by the score that Krejcikova had won her match, and wondered how she had played. Do you think she has a good chance to win the final?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 7, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Yes I think Krejcikova will win the final vs Gibbs, who had a tough three setter, she also had a tough 3 setter on Thursday. Krejcikova will overpower her. Krejcikova looks like she could be a top singles player. Maybe needs to get a little quicker and mobile. No reason why she can’t just suddenly breakout in singles like Kerber did after some years of struggle.

  • Hartt · April 7, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    I see from the score that Krejcikova totally creamed Gibbs in SS.
    Scoop, did you see the match?

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 7, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Hartt, I did not go up the 1 hour and 15 minute trek today. I knew she would win it, she is more powerful and explosive and though she has a lower ranking, she has the better achievements in singles and doubles. Krejcikova can achieve big things in singles too.

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