Czech mate: Krejcikova sparkles at French Open, pays tribute to mentor Novotna
Barbora Krejcikova plans to mark titles sweep in Paris with rare sip of champagne
Czech Barbora Krejcikova said she was going to enjoy a rare glass of champagne on Sunday after completing a singles-doubles title sweep at the French Open by taking the women’s doubles trophy with compatriot Katerina Siniakova.
Krejcikova became the first player to win both the women’s singles and doubles title in Paris since Frenchwoman Mary Pierce completed the feat in 2000, after the Czech duo beat Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4 6-2 on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Krejcikova, who will climb to 15th in singles after her maiden Grand Slam singles title on Saturday, will return as the world No.1 doubles player.
“We will have a little bit glass of champagne. I already said I don’t really drink but I think it’s a time to actually celebrate,” Krejcikova told reporters.
“I just want to go back home and relax. I have to spend some time with my family. After that start work again.”
Less than 24 hours after picking up her first singles Major title, Krejcikova returned to Court Philippe Chatrier but it was not easy.
“Like yesterday so many emotions. I didn't really sleep well. I woke up in the morning and I felt really tired. I had some pains in my leg,” she said.
That’s why I have this many Grand Slams, because she’s looking after me from somewhere above. She wants me to win. She knows what it means to me, and I know what it would mean to her.Barbora Krejcikova pays tribute to her former mentor Jana Novotna
“I’m really happy that it went this way. I was relaxed today when I went on court. I was just trying to support my partner and also try to cheer her up a little.”
Krejcikova paid tribute to her former mentor, Jana Novotna. She was at Novotna’s bedside as the 1998 Wimbledon champion lay terminally ill and it was fitting that the Czech’s first thoughts were for her former mentor before lifting the Suzanne Lenglen Cup on Saturday.
Speaking of Novotna, who died in 2017 aged 49, Krejcikova said: “We just had a really special bond and when I found out that she was sick and when I found out it’s not going to end up really well, I just felt at the end of her life I have to be there. I have to support her.”
Novotna took Krejcikova under her wing in 2014 and while the youngster “never tried to imitate” her, the 2018 French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion drew inspiration from her mentor.
“I also think that she was also happy that I was there. That’s why she’s looking after me right now,” added Krejcikova, who had never got past the second round in a singles Grand Slam before.
“That’s why I have this many Grand Slams, because she’s looking after me from somewhere above. She wants me to win. She knows what it means to me, and I know what it would mean to her.”
Krejcikova swore she would not change, because Novotna taught her to be humble.
“She always told me it doesn’t matter how many titles you’re going to win, you always have to come and say hello, please, and thank you. It’s important to behave very nice,” she explained.
“She was a great athlete. She was still very humble. She was a big role model. I just want to be the same as she was.”
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