2012 CitiOpen Interview: Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova, a doubles specialist with 17 doubles titles, is a lion on the court. She’ll also try to defend her only singles title at Quebec City after the US Open. After watching her argue calls with the Chair while banging her racquet against the metal net post in a first round singles loss to Edina Gallovits-Hall at CitiOpen on Monday, I wasn’t even sure I’d get an interview with her. Not only did I get an interview, I got the serene, happy off-court version of the woman tennis fanatics call BZS.
You had 76% of your first serves as winners in the second set. What happened in the third?
Really? It didn’t feel like it! I wasn’t playing so good the whole match. I was really tight. I was not playing my best. The third set was so fast to Love-2. I played pretty good, but she passed me at the net. I didn’t really believe that I can pull it through.
On opponent Edina Gallovits-Hall:
She’s a tricky player. She puts every ball in the court and you have to be really focused and you have to play really aggressive. That’s what I was trying to do, but if you don’t believe that you can do it, it’s tough to win the matches.
Your doubles partner, Iveta Benesova, is also in singles in DC. Why aren’t you two playing in doubles?
We’re not playing because we’re playing in Montreal next week in qualies. We don’t want to miss the qualies. We were thinking if we play doubles (here), maybe we could go through! That’s why we aren’t playing here.
What do you think of Washington, despite losing your match to a member of the Washington Kastles?
I was thinking about it. It doesn’t feel like I’m in the States. It’s feels so clean. It reminds me of Europe a lot. It’s nice! I didn’t see much, but I went to the White House. The White House looks so small. On pictures, it looks really big, but if you go there and you see it, it’s small.
I interviewed Andrea Hlavackova recently and she talked about your shared home town of Plzen. What are your thoughts on Plzen?
Well, we grew up together. Her father is the one who is tasting the beer and sending it into the world. I love my hometown. It’s a small city and everybody knows each other. I grew up there and I think I’m going to stay there for the rest of my life.
How neat is it to be able to see Pilsner Urquell, your hometown’s famous beer, where ever you are in the world?
It’s great and if I order it, it reminds me of Plzen. It reminds me of home. The beer is unbelievable. I love it. I like to drink beer. Surprise! At least something is in the world that reminds me of home, because I’m never home.
Like the pop quiz I gave to Andrea Hlavackova in Charleston, do you know the four ingredients in beer?
Yeah, but I don’t know the words in English!
I’m sure you’re looking forward to the U.S. Open, having made the doubles quarterfinals there last year.
I’m looking forward, but I still have more tournaments to go before the US Open.
I love New York. My favorite city. I would live there, but we’ll see! I’m going to focus on my singles first.
Montreal, Dallas, Flushing Meadows and Quebec are the next stops on Barbora’s North American summer tour.