Dubai: Lucie Safarova feels the strength of tennis in the Czech Republic is just healthy enough to help the country maintain its prestige at the top of the sport’s international competitions.
Czech tennis appears to be peaking at the moment, with a Fed Cup title in the bag and Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych winning the Hopman Cup not too long ago.
And Safarova, who battled past Croatian qualifier Petra Martic in three sets in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open here on Tuesday, is delighted with the form of her compatriots.
“We have a lot of players in the top 50 and obviously now also top 10 players and that’s great for the country. We are such a small country, so I would say we have good conditions for the juniors and good support from home, from the association, and maybe that’s the key,” Safarova said.
“It is good that the national tennis is going so well at the moment.”
Defending champions the Czech Republic women’s team will play at home against Italy in the Fed Cup World Group semi-final in Ostrava on April 21-22. Last year, the Czechs beat Russia at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow 3-2 to be crowned champions.
“I think it’s a team where the players enjoy playing together and having this team spirit, which is very important in Fed Cup. It’s a very tough tournament because usually at the Fed Cup all the players always play their best,” she said.
And playing at home has its advantages as well. “It’s our turn now. It’s at home [against Russia] and we chose the surface. It was very tough to play them on clay at home. Now it’s our turn and I hope we will use it,” Safarova added.
“When we won it last year, it was amazing. We were so happy. And also for the country it was a big thing for us. And now that we have to defend our crown, we always think we have good chances.”