By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, June 27, 2021
Barbora Krejcikova delivered a life-changing achievement capturing her maiden major at Roland Garros and becoming the first woman since Mary Pierce in 2000 to sweep French Open singles and doubles crowns.
The world No. 17 realizes it will require major adjustment to transition from the red clay to the green grass of The Championships.
Krejcikova confessed to feeling the jitters—and eager excitement—ahead of her Wimbledon main-draw singles debut next week.
“I think you can actually see that I feel actually quite nervous. My voice is, like, Icannot really put the good words together because all ofthis is very new and all of this is really exciting and special,” Krejcikova told the media at her pre-tournament press conference. ” Also, like, it’s stressful (laughter). I didn’t expectthis to happen. Now I’m here.
“About this tournament and playing for the first time, not really having experience, switching fast from clay to grass, all of this is new, all of this is different. Play on clay, I grew up on clay, so I like to play on clay. I didn’t really have that many matches playing on grass. I’ve never played here the main draw. Everything is new.”
In addition to her lack of grass-court experience, Krejcikova is relatively inexperienced in major singles play.
The former doubles world No. 1 won Roland Garros in just her fifth major main draw singles start; she’s yet to play a main-draw singles match at Wimbledon or the US Open.
Then there’s the fact the Krejcikova faces a tough opener in Denmark’s Clara Tauson and has already experienced one of the biggest major myths in the game: while conventional wisdom says winning a maiden Grand Slam should be liberating, often it actually ratchets up expectation and pressure.
Still, there’s reason to believe Krejcikova can be a successful grass-court player
—because she’s already done it. Krejcikova and compatriot Katerina Siniakova partnered to win the 2018 Wimbedon doubles title.
The 14th-seeded Czech owns the all-court skills
—she’s a fine volleyer, can play off-pace shots including the slice and drop shot, and owns a versatile and forceful backhand—that should play well on the lawns.
In the last 20 years only one woman
—Serena Williams in 2002 and again in 2015—has won Roland Garros and Wimbledon back-to-back. Krejcikova says her goal is to keep it simple, fight hard, continue improving and have fun immersing herself in the grass game.
“[I] just try to have fun. I just try to enjoy it,” Krejcikova said. “I just try to, as I said, improve. I just feel that so far I really don’t know what to do on grass yet. I just feel that I don’t really know how to use my shot. I still have some time to find out.
“For sure when I’m going to go there on court, maybe things will not go well for me, I’m just going to go and fight. I know how to fight. I’m ready for it. Like when I was back in Czech Republic, I had sometime to rest, to recharge again. Right now I’m ready. For me, doesn’t really matter if I’m going to play well or I’m not going to play well. For me the most important thing is to improve as a tennis player but also as a person. I know if I’m going to fight and do everything that I can, especially mentally, it’s going to be victory for me.”
Photo credit: Getty