Interview with… Klara Koukalova

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Crédit photo : Klara Koukalova personal archive

Whereas she will play the Katowice Open from monday, the Czech player Klara Koukalova has very kindly accepted to take some of her time to answer my questions. After a really great 2014 season, the beginning of 2015 is a bit harder for Klara Koukalova. But with a bit of confidence things could rapidly go her way again! And with the clay season, her favourite surface, coming soon and the J&T Banka Prague Open, a hometown tournament, there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the nice and talented Czech. Apart from the clay season and the Prague WTA tournament, Klara Koukalova also talks here about her fear of flying, her Facebook page, what a typical day of her life on the tour looks like, and many other things 🙂

First of all, how do you judge the first part of your season ? I guess that’s not exactly what you expected, but there is still many tournaments to come…
Well… I started this season with the loss to Schmiedlova 7:6 in the 3rd set, which hasn’t gave me a lot of confidence for the next tournaments. The level in women’s tennis is so equal right now, everybody can beat everybody and to be confident in the right moment and go for it is the most important, but as I said, it is just matter of my confidence and with few good matches I hope I will be back on my level.

And in a bit more less than a month there will be the J&T Banka Prague Open, which will be a WTA event for the first time if I’m right… As a native player from Prague I guess it makes you happy ?
I am really looking forward to play the WTA tournament in my home club in Prague. I am sure it will be one of the best tournament in 2015 because the organization, the hotel, the club, everything is just perfect and there are not many tournaments like this and for sure there will be a lot of surprised players with our tournament.

A home tournament is of course always something you look forward to, but isn’t it also a lot of pressure ?
It is really nice to play at home but on the other hand there is always more pressure on Czech girls because everybody want to show his best tennis. I hope for me it will be a less pressure tournament this year, as I will be one of the lowest ranked player on the main draw list. So this year I will be on the other side, I will be the one who will have nothing to lose and feels no pressure against higher ranked players, so I am really looking forward, watch out 😀

You recently switched from Nike to Fila… how cool are your new outfits and what’s your favourite thing about Fila brand ?
It was a great time together with Nike, but life is full of changes so I did one and switched to Fila. I am really loving all the on and off court outfits and enjoy our cooperation with both Martin Mulligan (former Wimbledon finalist and 3rd player in the world) and Phil Green. They are always very nice with me and try to help me, give me some advises on how to improve and support me on the tournaments, so I am really glad that I can be part of the Fila Tennis team and I really appreciate it.

You launched your Facebook fan page approximately 1 year ago… 1 year later what’s your look on it ? Are you satisfied to have created it ? 🙂
It is always nice to be closer to my fans on my Facebook account, to keep them updated on which tournament I am etc… I am really enjoying to do this but only until I lose any match. Suddenly it is full of haters, I received a lot of bad messages with lots of vulgarity, also threats sometimes. It is always taking a lot of my energy and in that moments I am honestly thinking about delete this profile and never read this again… But then I start to think about my real fans who are with me even in tough moments, who loves this sport and support me, and suddenly my energy is back and I am able to continue. I really love to be close to my fans and appreciate every single one! Thank you for being with me 🙂

After Facebook is there any plan to make an appearance on Twitter ? 😉
Because of what I wrote above, I don’t plan to open a twitter account.

I know you have a fear of flying, which is not really practical for a tennis player… How do handle with it ?
I still have my fear of flying, and I spent so many hours in the plane during this first part of the year. Especially those domestic flights in US with 25 years old planes are definitely not good for me, but I survived 🙂 For the longer flights I am taking sleeping pills which are working very well for me, so I sleep almost the whole flight 🙂

What looks like a typical day in Klara Koukalova’s life on the WTA tour ?
Typical day on WTA tournament depend on if I play a match or have just a practice before a match day. If I have a match day, I normally wake up no later than three hours before the match, because I love to sleep, so I need to have some time to also wake up in my mind 🙂 Then I have a breakfast and a warm up before the match which is usually one and a half hours before the match starts. Then I play my match and after almost everything depends on the match 🙂 If I win, I go to stretch, talk to my coach about the match, and then have a nice lunch then rest and dinner. If I lose, I am often in a bad mood and don’t want to talk about the match, I just eat and go to the hotel. I need some time to deal with the loss, but usually it just takes me the night and I am back in my mood and ready for another hard work to be better next time 🙂

Clay season will start soon, it used to be your favourite surface, but I heard it’s not necessarily still the case… It seems you prefer surface where forehand killer are more efficient now, right ?
I think clay is still my favourite surface, I have the best chances there against tall players with great serve. The only problem during the clay season is that I have really strong allergies during this period of the year, so I am taking a lot of medicines and doesn’t feel so good, I feel very tired, sleepy, slow, and with the high level of every single player in the WTA top 100, if you don’t feel at 100 percent it’s almost impossible to beat anybody. I tried something new during my offseason, so I hope it will work and I will be able to feel good enough to compete on the highest level on my favourite surface.

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