French Open: Krejcikova pays emotional tribute to 'inspiration' Novotna after Roland Garros triumph

By Sports Desk June 12, 2021

Barbora Krejcikova paid another emotional tribute to her late mentor Jana Novotna after winning her maiden grand slam singles title at the French Open on Saturday.

The unseeded Krejcikova beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 2-6 6-4 in the battle of two first-time major singles finalists on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Krejcikova said her former coach and compatriot Novotna, who died from cancer aged 49 in November 2017, was always in her thoughts as she embarked on a surprise, glorious run at Roland Garros.

The 25-year-old pointed to the sky as she delivered a poignant tribute to Novotna after becoming the first Czech woman to win the title in Paris since Hana Mandlikova in 1981. 

She said of the 1998 Wimbledon champion: "I was going through a really hard time when Jana passed away, I was with her most of the time. Her last words were pretty much 'just enjoy it and try to win a grand slam."

Krejcikova added: "I know from somewhere she is looking after me and all this what happened in the last two weeks is pretty much because she is looking after me from up there.

"It is amazing I had the chance to meet her and she was an inspiration. I hope she is really happy and I am extremely happy."

Ranked 114 when the WTA Tour returned last August following a coronavirus-enforced shutdown, the surprise package is the sixth consecutive maiden major champion to be crowned at the French Open.

Krejcikova, a winner of five grand slam doubles titles with another up for grabs on Sunday, was pinching herself after lifting the Suzanne Lenglen Cup.

"I want to thank all of them - my coach, my physio, my friends and everyone back home. My family, my mum and dad, my brothers, my niece and nephew. It's nice to see everyone," she said.

"It is hard to put into words because I cannot believe what just happened. I cannot believe I actually won a grand slam."

Related items

  • Former British number one Konta retires from tennis aged 30 Former British number one Konta retires from tennis aged 30

    Former British number one Johanna Konta has announced her retirement from tennis after a continuous battle with a knee injury.

    Konta, who is a three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has not featured on the WTA Tour since August and decided to step away aged 30.

    She became the first British woman in 39 years to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, while also making the last four at the Australia Open a year earlier and at the French Open in 2019.

    Australia-born Konta, a former world number four, collected four titles on the WTA Tour and represented Great Britain in the Fed Cup.

    In a statement posted on social media on Wednesday, Konta said: "Grateful. This is the word that I've probably been used to the most during my career, and is the word that I feel explains it best at the end.

    "My playing career has come to an end, and I am so incredibly grateful for the career that it turned out to be.

    "All the evidence pointed towards me not 'making' it in this profession. However, my luck materialised in the people that came into my life and impacted my existence in ways that transcended tennis.

    "I am so incredibly grateful for these people. You know who you are."

    Konta made her last tour-level appearance at the Cincinnati Open on August 18 when she lost in the first round to Karolina Muchova.

    The Briton had only one win in her last five majors since reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2019 and dropped to 113th in the rankings but remains thankful for the opportunities she has been granted.

    "Through my own resilience and through the guidance of others, I got to live my dreams," she added. "I got to become what I wanted and said as a child.

    "How incredibly fortunate I count myself to be. How grateful I am."

  • Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father

    Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open in January unless COVID-19 vaccination rules are relaxed, according to the player's father.

    Organisers recently confirmed that players must be vaccinated against coronavirus to compete in the tournament, which begins on January 17.

    World number one Djokovic, who won a record ninth title in Melbourne last year, has not publicly stated whether he has had the jab.

    Srdjan Djokovic told Serbia's TV Prva that being vaccinated is a personal choice, and that Tennis Australia's rules are essentially "blackmail".

    "As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not," he was quoted as saying by news website B92.

    "No one has the right to enter into our intimacy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Everyone has the right to decide on their health.

    "Whether [Novak] is vaccinated or not, that is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don't think so. I don't know that decision either, and if I did, I wouldn't share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants."

    When asked about Djokovic's decision to play in Australia, his father added: "Whether he will appear there depends on how [the organisers] position themselves. He would want it with all his heart because he's an athlete, and we would love that too.

    "Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won't. I wouldn't do that. And he's my son, so you decide for yourself."

    Djokovic, who is tied on 20 major singles titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, recently said he was unsure of his participation following his appearance at the ATP Finals in Turin.

    "I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be and now that I know we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

  • China calls for 'hyping up' of Peng Shuai saga to end China calls for 'hyping up' of Peng Shuai saga to end

    China has called for people to stop "deliberately and maliciously hyping up" the Peng Shuai saga.

    Two-time grand slam doubles champion was reported to have been missing since making sexual assault allegations against Zhang Gaol, the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, more than three weeks ago.

    The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) welcomed pictures that showed Peng on a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, but say the images do not alleviate its concerns about her wellbeing.

    According to the IOC, Peng said she is "safe and well" in the call on Sunday and the 35-year-old spoke to president Bach for half an hour.

    Despite footage released by Chinese state-run media on Saturday purporting to show Peng in a restaurant with friends, followed by images of her at a youth tournament on Sunday, concerns have continued to be raised regarding her safety.

    Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are among many fellow players to have issued a plea for answers over Peng's whereabouts.

    Human rights group Amnesty International stated the IOC is "entering dangerous waters" by taking part in a call with Peng and "should be extremely careful not to participate in any whitewash of possible human rights violations."

    There was a firm message from China's foreign ministry on Tuesday, declared the issue is "not a diplomatic matter".

    "I believe you have all seen that she recently attended some public events and had a video call [with IOC president Bach]," spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

    "I think some people should stop deliberately and maliciously hyping [the issue] up, let alone politicise this issue."

     

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.