“I’m really grateful for the Australian Open experience”

In Indian Wells, 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic reached the second round after winning a complicated first round against Mayar Sherif of Egypt. A few miles and time zones away, Linda’s younger sister, Brenda Fruhvirtova began her week at the ITF W40 tournament in Bengaluru, India.

The ITF event in Bengaluru is the 15-year-old’s first in 2023. That’s not surprising given the trajectory and growth she had as a professional the year before, in 2022.

The path taken by Brenda Fruhvirtova

That year, Fruhvirtova won eight ITF titles starting with the W25 in Tucuman, Argentina, in the last week of January.

She followed that up with a second W25 title the following week in February. As it turned out, the teenager finished the season with eight ITF titles, winning five consecutive W25 events along the way, starting in June in Klosters, Switzerland and culminating in Santa Margarita di Pula, Italy in September.

This string of titles helped Fruhvirt reach a career high of no. 128th in the WTA rankings in November of that year. In 2023, this rise in the rankings helped Fruhvirt gain entry into the Australian Open qualifying draw – her first Major as a professional.

Reflecting on that momentous run of hers, Fruhvirtova, speaking exclusively to TennisWorld from Bengaluru, said: “Yes, it was a turnaround. I was like, without any expectations. And somehow I qualified and it was a really amazing experience for me.

And I think the biggest in my tennis career so far. So I’m really grateful for that”. Further, continuing the conversation with more memories of going through the qualifiers and entering the main draw of Melbourne Park, Fruhvirtova spoke about the experience.

“Of course, it’s difficult to play against some older, older players, because they are much more experienced than me and have much more physical strength,” she noted. “So yeah, that was probably the difference.

And yes, I mean, at this level of tennis, they don’t give you that many chances if you don’t take them. So I tried to improve it”. As interesting as it was that she contextualized her performance at the Australian Open in terms of experience, her words brought back the nature of her first-round result against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, there.

Fruhvirtova took a 3-0 lead over Sasnovich in the first set before her opponent clawed her way back in the set and eventually finished the match 7-5, 6-2. At a time when the women’s tour has a noticeable cast of young people, especially teenagers, in the mix – one of whom is her sister – Fruhvirt’s words seem like necessary speed bumps to prevent anyone’s train of thought from racing and planning their careers for them.

In a similar vein, the teenagers’ words also emphasized that the trajectory of each youngster on the tour – whether male or female – is theirs to chart and build upon rather than face comparative analysis based on others’ achievements.

Not that this should be a disparagement of those who have made a name for themselves. Especially if someone comes from a country whose pool depth sets them apart on the pro tour. Currently, the Czech Republic has a great mix of experienced and emerging names.

If Linda Noskova and the Fruhvirtova sisters can be counted in the latter categorization, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliškova and Barbora Krejčikova belong to the first. In fact, Krejcikova is no.

2 in pairs with his partner, Katerina Siniakova on the ranking no. 1 in the world. For her part, Fruhvirtova admitted, “I don’t think I have any role models or inspiration in the Czech Republic,” when asked about this consistent cycle of emergence and growth of tennis talent in her homeland.

However, she quickly added: “It’s a country where there are a lot of good players, especially in women’s tennis. So yeah, I think it is, it’s really, really good. And there are a lot of rivals there and yes, I think this constantly pushes the Czech players to achieve something.”

Speaking of achievements, beyond the future and focusing solely on the present, Fruhvirtova got a lot going for her this week in Bengaluru. But. 1 in the tournament, Brenda Fruhvirtova reached the final, losing only one set in four matches.

It is also the first time she has made it this far in an ITF tournament played on a hard surface. For someone who started this conversation with a confident, “Sure, win the tournament. I always have the highest expectations (of myself) from the tournament.

Well, yes, for sure,” in response to a question about the expectations she had of herself; the teenager lived up to her words, one game at a time. Photo credit: Ranjith Kumar

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