After winning two crucial points for her country during the Fed Cup semifinals over the weekend in Switzerland, Karolína Plíšková travelled north from Luzern to Germany in order to play at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. In her first match in Stuttgart, the young Czech faced her compatriot Lucie Šafářová and survived after three tough sets. A little after her match, Plíšková said down with René Denfeld for a 1-on-1 on taking on a leadership position in her Fed Cup Team, her season so far and why she might not have that much use for a Porsche.
TTI: It was a really tight match today against Lucie, someone you obviously know really well. How did you get through that with your injury timeout and going from hard court to clay?
Karolína Plíšková: Yeah, definitely was tough cause I didn’t have a chance to hit many balls on the clay, I just hit yesterday. Monday we came from Switzerland cause I had tough weekend I played three matches and so I felt a little bit tired and little bit I felt my left leg, so didn’t feel really 100% ready but just happy that I went through this match cause it wasn’t easy. We both played pretty well the first two sets and the third set maybe she was a little bit tired, me as well so there was more mistakes but like you said, I know Lucie pretty well that she can play really good especially on clay cause she always had good results on clay.
TTI: Particularly last year–
KP: Yeah, exactly, so I knew it’s going to be tough but here maybe the courts are maybe a little bit faster
TTI: and slippery —
KP: Right, so it was better for me and I played in Switzerland on indoor hard courts which also were pretty fast, so it’s like, still it’s clay but it’s also little bit similar [to where I just played.]
TTI: You carried the Fed Cup team in a way in both the tie against Romania and now Switzerland — are you a bit more into that role now and how are you taking that challenge on?
KP: Yeah, maybe a little bit, but I’m just always trying to do my best in the Fed Cup — doesn’t matter if it’s Fed Cup or normal tournaments. The first match [vs. Viktorija Golubic] I lost, but it was pretty close and then I didn’t have any other choice than to win the last two matches, so I was just happy that we made it again into [the] finals – even [though] Lucie and Petra…weren’t there. I still think we can make it even without them. Yeah, I think I played some good tennis. It’s also sometimes tough to playing Fed Cup physically, mentally as well — but just happy that I made it, especially today after the tough weekend.
TTI: How do you feel about your year so far? You have a really good tournament in Indian Wells, great Fed Cup weekends but also some earlier exits at other tournaments — how does it all weigh up for you?
KP: I mean, yeah, I always have some up and downs during the years, so it’s never going to be like, always solid. I’m just happy I made good result in Indian Wells and then I was a little bit tired and unlucky — I was 7-6 in the third [lost vs. Timea Babos] in my first match in Miami, so it happened and now I have again a few matches in a row I won, so feeling ready and now the clay season is starting I have my first match what I won now, just want to be ready for Roland Garros that’s the main goal.
TTI: Last year, you didn’t schedule to play like a Top 10 or Top 15 player from the get go and played a lot of tournaments — you said you prefer playing matches to practicing, but how have things like scheduling changed?
KP: I prefer to play matches definitely, but it’s not always like, you cannot be traveling from tournament to tournament, so this year I changed little bit the schedule and I practiced now almost three weeks; I was practicing after Miami, so it’s also important to have some practices also at home and get used to the surface and everything. Last year, I was playing a lot of tournaments, almost everything, so this year also maybe some injuries or something I have to take care little bit of my injuries.
TTI: Next week, [you’ll be in] Prague, you’re the defending champion there. Are you looking forward to that, playing in front of a home crowd?
KP: Well, yeah, definitely — it’s also always tough to play in your home city cause everyone is coming; [they] want to see you.
TTI: Maybe expecting you to win the title?
KP: Exactly! But, you know, [I’m] just happy to be one more week at home. It’s always rare be home for a few days; it’s not happening that much and I could just take it as preparation for Madrid and Rome afterwards — that’s also two important tournaments — but obviously, I want to do a good result in front of the home crowd.
TTI: Are you looking forward to the Olympics, and have you given events other than singles a thought — maybe mixed or doubles? There’s a group of Czechs who are all ranked pretty high and who are good singles and doubles players.
KP: It’s going to be my first Olympics and if I get there — I believe, yes, I will play anything that I can, even mixed or doubles. It’s once in four years — it just deserves to play everything if you can, if you are ready — [but] obviously the singles [is] going to be the priority.
TTI: We talked to Tomas in Marseille and he said “I could imagine playing with Karolína Plíšková” — did he talk to you yet?
KP: I’ll be up for it but I didn’t talk to him yet — it’s still far away so there’s still time to talk.
TTI: Next match is against someone you know really well and you’ve got a good record against — Ana Ivanovic:
KP: We played four times already and I think I won all of the matches, yeah, but you know, it’s going to be different because it’s on clay. I never played her on clay and she’s very dangerous on clay, so [I’m] just looking forward to this match. I think it’s going to be exciting and we can have a good match — hopefully, we can hit on Centre Court. We will see. I hope I’m gonna feel better tomorrow with my leg and [I’m] just going to enjoy the match.
TTI: Have you taken a look at the cars around here because it’s your first time in Stuttgart?
KP: Yes, but I’m not really interested about cars because I don’t have a driving license — but it would be nice to have at home, but I don’t really taken a car.
TTI: That probably means you have not done the parking challenge.
KP: No, definitely not [laughs].
Plíšková got her wish — as she’ll face Ivanovic in her second round as the final match of the day on Centre Court tomorrow evening.