April 27 - May 2, 2020
27 April 2019
10 month ago

Šafářová before farewell: I'll be nervous, but I'm looking forward to Prague!

27 April 2019
10 month ago

Šafářová before farewell: I'll be nervous, but I'm looking forward to Prague!

She is currently playing a doubles tournament on clay courts in Stuttgart, but then Lucie Šafářová will move to the Czech capital, where she will bid farewell to her home fans. “I certainly want to do more than just participate. I look forward to it,” said the 2016 J&T Banka Prague Open winner before this year’s tournament. She also spoke about her future in the interview.

Why did you choose the Prague tournament for the farewell of your career?
That was not a difficult decision. I wanted to say goodbye in front of the home fans because I owe them for their support. Also, friends and family can see me. The only question was whether I could prepare myself after being ill. In the spring, I had tonsil surgery, so I didn't play for a while and lost my level of fitness. But since then, I’ve been fully training every day. And I certainly want to do more than just participate in Prague.

Have you ever asked yourself during the last few weeks: ‘Do I really have to do this?
Every time something hurt, which was more or less every day. But I won’t regret it. I decided to say goodbye in Prague and I look forward to it.

How were your practices on the Sparta Central Court?
As the stands for tournament were growing around me every day, memories came back. Hardly any court is as beautiful as this one. I still have the ball of my match-point ace from three years ago that won me the title here. That wasn’t my first WTA title, but it meant a lot to me. I had been at home a few weeks after having a huge crisis. A few months before that I was in the hospital and didn't know if it would play again. I didn't win a single match that year until I came to Prague. Then it suddenly came together and I was standing there with a trophy in my hand a few days later.

Apart from Prague, do you want to say goodbye to fans abroad?
I would like to. I felt bad that because of my wrist, I wasn’t able to go to Australia for the Australian Open where I won my first Grand Slam. Another place is obvious: Roland Garros. We won two doubles titles there with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, but I also played there my only singles Grand Slam final. So it would be symbolic. Maybe the organizers will be nice to me and I get a wild card.

And are you really sure you’re finished? You're just thirty-two…
And there are moments when I feel like eighty-two. But seriously, I'm sure. Of course I might miss tennis a lot, but that probably won’t happen. I will continue to play tennis, but only with my friends, my sister, my nieces. Although I'm afraid they'll start beating me soon! Anyway, I can't imagine continuing that way the next few years, just training and training, where it would be just hard work without a home, only hotel rooms… It was beautiful, but it was enough.

So now what’s next? Do you really open the café you often talk about?
Maybe; that’s my big dream. Or maybe I’ll pack my bags and go to New Zealand. I have a list of places and things I want to try. I traveled all over the world with tennis, but mostly I only got to know the courts and hotels. Now I'll have time to make up for it.

Would you like to coach? Maybe your niece?
Maybe it would tempt me to be a mentor to someone. And occasionally to advise some player because I have played tennis all my life and have some experience. I would like to pass that on to someone and of course I am closest to my nieces. I cheer them on and it makes me happy when they play well. But I wouldn't want to be a full-time coach.

When you enter the court in Prague for the last time, do you think you’ll be nervous, or will you enjoy it?
I think it will be a combination of both. I will definitely be nervous. First of all, it will be the last tournament in front of my home fans, and secondly, it has been a long time since I played a singles tournament. I have no expectations, but of course I want to show something. Mostly, I want to be happy with myself.

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