After a very tough R1 match against Madison Brengle (7-5 6-3 in 2 hours of play), Barbora Strycova can relax and smile in Upper Austria Ladies Linz 2017’s press room. The Czech, currently close to the top20 of the ranking and to a chance to play in the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai ranged from serious to funny topics, talking about haters on social media, junior tennis, holidays and best memories of the season. Here her words, as expected spiced up with her usual and unique style.
Cogratulation for your win today. You are coming in Linz after good tournaments and wins also in Asia.
Being in Asia I played some very good matches. I beat Johanna Konta and I beat Muguruza, so it was a good three weeks there and good matches over there. And coming back to Europe I feel very well.
More in general, are you satisfied about your season?
I think it was a pretty solid season, so I played some good matches and some tough matches that I didn’t make. Overall I think it was a good season and a healthy season, which is important.
Going back to the past, what does the bronze medal at Olympics mean for you?
It was something very very special in my career. I am very happy to feel this moment with Lucie [Safarova] especially, because we have known each other since we are very young. To be there with her and to win the bronze medal was very special and I will never forget that feeling.
Many players recently talked about social media and people who insult and attack them on social media, what about you?
Oh it happens every day… It is not easy to open the phone and social media is very tough. I want to have it because I want to show my fans, the good real fans, and I have them a lot. I really am happy that I have people following me. They are very nice, but some people are so, it’s tough. To get messages like ‘I am going to kill you, I’m going to find you, I know where you live and I’m going to kill your family’ is not easy when you are down and you lose a match. It is just a match, people [smile]. Sometimes I can handle it but sometimes it is very tough. I think they are just sick people.
You are still alive in the race to win a spot in Zhuhai. Is it something that gives you more pressure or you are thinking about something else at the moment?
To be honest, it is not giving me any pressure, cause I am thinking more about being seeded at next Australian Open, that is my current main goal.
Which is the best moment or the best memory of your season?
That is a good question [smile]. Let me think about it [laughter]. I have memory of 2017 but one of them is playing at the Australian Open against Caroline Garcia [it was R3, Strycova won in straight sets]. This match gave me special memories in my head. Also the tournament in Prague, where it was 10 degrees and 2.000 people there every day and the atmosphere there was amazing. This was very special.
And more in general, which is in your opinion the biggest surprise or the best moment of this last WTA season?
We had… lots of number ones this year [laughter], but it is something I like. Things are changing, it is not always the same person on top. It is good for people from the outside and I honestly like it.
You had a successful junior career but also a pretty good pro career. It is not something that every player achieve. What are the keys, the secret to make it?
Junior tournaments and Junior tennis is so different to WTA and seniors, but personally, I think it is important to play junior tournaments that you can get used to and get matches. To transfer from juniors to women’s tennis is a completely different life and completely different tennis. You have to work hard, you have to be patient, you have to have motivation, you have to be ready for the life of travelling alone, being alone and doing everything alone. You have the team around you and you have to believe in it and be ready for, not the amazing life, it is not amazing to travel every day, every year, every week to different places. We don’t see much. But hey, I love it and I would never change it with something else.
And about travelling, have you already decided the destinations for your holidays?
Oh yes! [laughter] I am going to Dubai. For me it is great, also cause I have residence there, it is close and only 6 hours flight, weather is great… and then I will come in Austria, which I do every year: I will go to an Organic Spa. I really enjoy over there!
Barbora, you look a very emotional player on the court…
…oh yeah [laughter]!
Is it the same off-court?
Barbora on the court is totally different to Barbora outside the court. This is me. I’m transforming to a very aggressive and fighting person on the court. This is how I was always since I was small. And I am talking to myself ‘be calm, be calm, Barbora. Be the Barbora outside of the court’. I am a very emotional player and I am also very emotional outside. I feel sadness and I feel happiness a lot. I know someone thinks I am very funny, but the situation is simple: people hate me or people love me!
What do you like about this tournament in Linz?
First of all, it is very close to my home and I can come here just with 2 hours of car. And I like it also because young people work here, they always try their best, they are always in good mood and positive. And also Sandra Reichel and Barbara Schett are doing a pretty great job here and I like it.