Quarter finalist at Wimbledon, among others, the Czech tennis player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova had a really great 2014 season. And since she is working every week of the year with her French coach Jerome Adamec (see his website here), the player from Plzen climbed from the 190th to the 25th spot on the WTA ranking, the all thing in less than 2 years. Whereas she started her pre-season preparation now 2 weeks ago, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova has very nicely accepted to answer my questions to talk about her last season, her atypical game, but also about Czech tennis in general.
First of all, after a long season you surely enjoyed some well deserved holidays… you are now working for the next season, how is going the beginning of your preparation ?
Yes, I had a great holidays. I enjoyed my rest with my friends and my family. I started working again 2 weeks ago. It’s hard but it’s going pretty good, and I still have some weeks to be in the best shape I can be.
With a bit of hindsight, how do you judge your 2014 season ? With your career-high singles ranking you are pretty happy I guess ?
I judge it in a positive way. It was a great season. We worked hard to reach where I am standing now. There is always things to improve, but being 25 in the world is a great step to continue to work on my game and on myself to get better.
I heard that you saw a mental coach the past season… Is it true ? And if it is, how did it help you and your game ?
Yes, I am working with a mental coach. And I have to say it helped me a lot to see myself and to see the game differently. My tennis got better because I got maybe more calm in situations where I was not in the past. But I still have to work on it. It’s not yet perfect.
Your aggressive and varied game is really pleasant to watch, in addition you come a lot to the net, which is very refreshing in an era where many players prefer to stay on their baseline. Is there a reason you enjoy coming to the net so often ?
There is no reason. I am playing like this since I am young. I have a lot of variations in my game. I have to use all the skills I have because I am not a powerful player. So coming to the net and mix my game help me to beat a lot of players. And you are right, at this moment in tennis you don’t see many girls coming in.
What are your goals for the upcoming season ?
I have goals. But I never say them. I like to keep them for me.
The Czech team won its 3rd Fed Cup final in 4 years… What’s the secret of this team ? And what’s the secret of your country to produce so many talented players ?
Yes, we are a very successful team. We are a team who works like a team in every aspects. So maybe this brings us victories. I am not sure why we have so many talented players, but we are all working very hard and trying to be as good as we can be.
I know you did figure skating when you were a child… Do you still manage to find time to do it ?
I love doing it, but I have no time for it. I go once per year in my hometown (editor’s note : Plzen). But I have to be very careful. I can not jump any more. But I love this sport.
And to finish, if you could ask three wishes to the Genie, what would they be ?
Being taller :-))) be healthy, and win a Grand slam…