2017: The year in Czech sport
2017 was not a particularly notable year for Czech sport. However, there were some outstanding individual successes, with Barbora Špotáková winning javelin gold at the World Athletics Championships and Karolína Plíšková becoming the country’s first women’s tennis number one in decades.
Špotáková takes gold in London as Czechs confirm status in javelin
Plíšková becomes women’s tennis number one
Karolína Plíšková became the world women’s tennis number one in July, two months after turning 25. She was only the second woman born in this country to achieve this accolade, after the all-time legend Martina Navrátilová. Otherwise Plíšková’s greatest success in 2017 was reaching the semi-finals of the Paris Open for the first time. Though a Grand Slam triumph still eludes her, she picked up three WTA titles this year for a career total of nine. Plíšková is now ranked fourth in the world.
Kvitová returns after career-threatening attack
Federer helps Europe edge inaugural Laver Cup in Prague
The glamour of men’s tennis came to Prague in September with the first ever edition of the Laver Cup, in which a European team take on a rest of the world selection. Roger Federer won it for the Europeans (including Czech Tomáš Berdych) with a nail-biting tie-break victory over Team World’s Nick Kyrgios. Unfortunately for local fans, the Czech capital was serving as a one-off host of the glitzy event.
Footballers miss out on World Cup
The Czech national soccer team had a year to forget, missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia. With holders Germany in their group, the Czechs’ best bet was to try to come second. However, they lost that berth in the playoffs to Northern Ireland, who beat them in Belfast in September. Karel Jarolím, who only took over in summer 2016, has been retained as manager.