Sports News

Martina Navratilova, photo: CTK

In Sports News: not the best of starts for the Czech Republic's ice hockey team at the World Championships in Riga; former Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak returns to action, while Martina Navratilova returns to Prague; and footballer Jan Koller is fit again but plans to leave Borussia Dortmund in the summer, while the future of several other Czech internationals is also unclear.

Czech ice hockey team fail to impress in opening games at World Championships

Czech Republic - Slovenia,  photo: CTK
The Czech ice hockey team didn't get off to a great start at the World Championships in Riga, with the defending champions only managing a 1:1 draw with hosts Latvia on Friday. The Czechs failed to take advantage of their power plays in that match, a problem rectified in their second game against Slovenia on Sunday. But after leading 4:0, Alois Hadamczik's men were in the end relieved to win 5:4 after the Slovenians fought back. Czech left winger Martin Erat had this to say after the game.

"I think we played well during our power plays throughout the game. The first period went our way, but after that we had several chances to score that we didn't take advantage of. Then the Slovenians got back into it...we'll have to take their comeback as a lesson."

The Czech Republic have secured a place in the quarter-finals, but they will be keen to beat Finland, their first serious opposition, on Tuesday evening. A win over the Finns should ensure easier opponents in the next round.

Novak is back in action...

Former Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak returned after a six-month break on Sunday. Novak, at one point ranked fifth in the world, was beaten 6-3 6-4 in the first round of the Rome Masters by Italy's Stefano Galvani.

...while Navratilova is back in Prague

Martina Navratilova,  photo: CTK
Czech fans will get a rare chance on Tuesday to watch the great Martina Navratilova, who is taking part in the doubles in the ECM Prague Open at the city's Stvanice arena. She has won 56 Grand Slam tournaments in an incredible career and is one of the all-time legends of the game. Navratilova told the media she would be happy if she could motivate others to make their dreams come true.

"I'd like to show the joy I get from playing tennis, and maybe inspire others to play tennis or do something else entirely, to get fit or...write that novel they've been thinking about for years and never got around to...I'd like to inspire people to make the most of their lives, because I do just what I like. I'm really pleased about that and I'm lucky that I can do what I want."

Koller set to leave Dortmund while future of other Czech stars also unclear

Jan Koller,  photo: CTK
Czech footballer Jan Koller has managed to catch the end of the season with Borussia Dortmund, after a seven-month absence through injury to. But the giant striker, who is out of contract, says he will leave the club in the summer. Tomas Galasek is in a similar situation and is preparing to quit Ajax Amsterdam; his Czech team-mate Zdenek Grygera, meanwhile, has refused to sign a new contract with Ajax and could move on after the World Cup. And there has been speculation that Milan Baros has played his last game for Aston Villa; the striker has not been a success at the club and was left out of the squad for their last game of the season.