Karolina Pliskova comes from the Czech Republic. She needn’t have.
Apologies, Bill Bryson, we know you put Des Moines on the map with that famous line from The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.
But let’s quickly get back to the tennis before this gets too complicated.
Pliskova, one of the most consistent performers on the WTA Tour – she is now in the 181st consecutive week as a top-10 player – is of the opinion that the Czech Republic produces top-quality tennis players despite lacking a system, saying it’s the players themselves who should be credited for making it big.
“No, there is no programme. At least I didn’t have any programme,” the World No. 3 and 2018 Qatar Total Open champion said yesterday.
“So I think everything’s (done) by the players. How they decide, which coaches they take, where they practice. And I think, especially like me and my family and my sister, we did a lot of changes, so we didn’t do everything in the Czech Republic.
“We were traveling where the conditions for tennis were better. But there are a lot of idols and that’s why maybe there are still new players coming. Tennis is quite a top sport in this country, so I think that’s why. But there is no programme that actually produces players.”
Pliskova added it’s difficult now to imagine a single player dominating the world like Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graf used to do in the past.
“I think it’s not going to be very possible right now unless there is somebody really that amazing and then the rest are just that bad (laughing).
“So I don’t see it really happening because I think it’s not about that we would be playing bad, you know, but I think the level is so close right now. So it’s just tough to be always on the top.”
She added that the pressures of the modern game also contribute to this.
“I think it’s also the pressure from press people, from our countries, from ourselves. I think it’s much different than it was before. I think for sure they (past players) didn’t have this kind of pressure. They didn’t have much money as we have. So I don’t see it really happening.
“I feel much more people are playing tennis right now than they were before. Before, you could easily get to semi-final every week. But now it’s much harder and you have to struggle a lot to get there.”
Pliskova had a decent run in Dubai last week before losing to eventual runner-up Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals, but said she would have to adjust to vastly different conditions in Doha.
“Of course conditions very different compared to Dubai. I think the speed definitely is different. We play much later in the afternoon here, so it gets kind of colder and windy a little bit. The balls used in Doha are also different. They are the same as in Australian Open, so, yeah, not that long ago we played with them. But compared to Dubai it’s very different. I think there it was very fast and it was flying a lot.
“But I played here a couple years so I know pretty much how it’s going here and all the conditions, but it always takes couple days just to get used to it.”
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