Sports News

Lucie Šafářová, photo: CTK

In Sports News this Monday: Šafářová shoots up world rankings after reaching final at French Open, where she also lifts double title; goalie Čech to consider future after Euro qualifier against Iceland; and Veselý comes second in javelin at Diamond League meet in Birmingham.

Šafářová shoots into top 10 after sensational run at French Open

Lucie Šafářová,  photo: CTK
Having never previously gotten past the third round in the singles at the French Open in Paris, the Czech Republic’s Lucie Šafářová went all the way to the final this time out. After losing the first set on Saturday Šafářová made a spirited fightback in the second, only to eventually lose 3-6 7-6 2-6 to Serena Williams, who claimed her 20th Grand Slam title.

Nevertheless, Šafářová had a chance to make amends the next day in the doubles final and duly did so, serving out the centre court match as she and Bethanie Mattek-Sands overcame Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova.

The Czech’s great run in Paris has seen her climb to seventh in the world rankings. With Petra Kvitová second, it is the first time in 25 years that there have been two Czechs in the women’s top 10. By coincidence, both are left-handed.

But what is behind Šafářová’s new-found success? Many have pointed to the positive influence of Rob Steckley, who has been her trainer since late 2013. Among them is the non-playing captain of the Czech Fed Cup team, Petr Pála.

“I think working with Rob has been a good fit for her. They’ve worked on a lot of things together. She believes in herself, which is very important for Lucie’s game; she’s brought that belief to bear. Also she hasn’t been injured for a long time, which is very important.”

Lucie Šafářová has reached such heights at the relatively advanced age of 28 and the challenge now will be to remain at this level.

“We will see. Right now I’m just celebrating what I’ve done – then I will have to come to terms with a certain pressure that I’ve never experienced before. Things have been going gradually. First I was in the world top 20 and this season I have been defending a lot of points. It’s gradually been building up like that. I’m getting used to the new position I find myself in, but for now everything is positive.”

Čech to consider future after Euro qualifier against Iceland

Petr Čech | Photo: Filip Jandourek,  Czech Radio
The Czech national soccer team have been gathering in Prague ahead of a home Euro 2016 qualifier against Iceland. Much attention has been paid to the future of goalkeeper Petr Čech, who may have played his last game for Chelsea after a season in which he played second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois. However, Čech, who is 33, said he was concentrating on Friday’s game.

“I’m focusing on playing the best I can against Iceland. After that I will sit down with my agent Viktor Kolář and consider all the alternatives. We’re going to lay all the cards on the table and I’ll chose whatever option is most attractive to me… All the speculation doesn’t interest me. I know myself how things stand. When everything becomes clear things will be calmer.”

Veselý comes second in javelin at Birmingham Diamond League meeting

Vítězslav Veselý was the best of the Czechs at a Diamond League athletics meeting in Birmingham in the UK at the weekend. Veselý came second in the javelin, beaten only by Julius Yego of Kenya, who achieved the longest throw in Diamond League history with 91.39 metres.