There was a “spring break” in the United States, a time when school children chose vacations and went to enjoy Florida. Linda Fruhvirt, 16, had fun there in her own way. At Hard Rock Stadium, an arena dedicated to American football, she knocked down Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka or world number 24 Elisa Martens. From her top-sixteen campaign came a crack, which she fueled a few days later in Charleston with another WTA victory. She is now extending the weeks where her career has gone from a promising junior to a contender for the top goals in women’s tennis in Prague as a member of the national team.
How did you accept Captain Pála’s national invitation?
“It’s great, I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I was surprised to receive an offer to be nominated. I didn’t expect it, it was a bit shocking. However, it was a very nice surprise The captain approached me in Miami, where I got back into shape and played several quality games there. I feel good. I hope to continue doing that.”
|age:||16 years old (May 1, 2005)|
|on the scale:||170.|
|summary of this year:||10:5|
|achievements:||eight-finalist of the Miami tournament (2022), semi-finalist of the Wimbledon junior (2020), winner of three ITF women’s tournaments, winner of the Pardubice junior (2019) and the Orange Bowl (2017), world champion by teams under 14 (2019)|
|prize money:||USD 158,142 (approx. CZK 3.56 million)|
What do you think is going so well?
“It just came to our knowledge at that time. I worked a lot on and off the pitch. I had fun and the results came. I’m so happy. Everything fell into place. »
What did the Miami experience bring you, what did you discover about yourself?
“It’s very important for me at my age to play and win such matches against great players in great tournaments. It will give you confidence and you will realize that you have a level to beat such players. Even if people tell you that you have such players, you will only believe it if you really beat them. It’s a big step in my career.”
What bothered you when you faced names like Azarenka, Badosa or Mertens on the big pitch? For the first time, the dreams you had worked for all your life had to come true.
“Yes, it was a dream come true. I played against opponents I watched on TV when I was little. Mertens is a great player, I’m not even talking about Azarenka. I watched her on TV. TV when I was little when she was the first in the world to win Grand Slams. I tried not to think there was someone like her on the other side. I focused on me and my game. But now that I think about beating Azarenka, it’s unbelievable.”
Can a person be moved during such a match? Say it – yes, I have already achieved something…
“Something may go through your mind for a while, but you have to ground yourself right away and focus on yourself. I think I did. I didn’t rejoice too soon, I was I was still in the game and I couldn’t think of anything else. I took it ball by ball. I tried to show the best tennis I could.”
In which game did you feel the best in Miami?
“I felt good with all of them. They were all great players, the worst built was the 66th in the world. It’s amazing to play so many matches in a row against such high placed opponents. In Charleston, I then met Bencicová, who went on to win the whole tournament. And I missed two balls in the tie-break to bring him into the third set. I played against Badosa, who is now third in the world. It was all a huge experience for me, I will try to enjoy it as much as possible and move on.”
You climbed over 100 places in the rankings to the current 170th place. What opportunities are available to you in tournaments?
“It’s great, but the tournament schedule is not yet known. You have no idea in advance where you will get a free card, so I really don’t know much in advance. more, I still have a limited number of tournaments, and at my age I can only play fourteen women. But I believe that I will manage to qualify for Roland Garros, I will see.”
You complement each other well in the season with your sister Brenda, who is two years younger. At just fourteen, she took part in ITF adult tournaments in Argentina and won two of them, and you showed up. Do you talk to each other?
“My sister is as happy for me as she was for her when she campaigned in Argentina before. It’s really great, we’re very close, we have a great relationship, which I’m very happy about. When she wins, it’s like I won and vice versa.”
Besides you two, other young Czechs are playing very well – Linda Nosková, Nikola Bartůňková, Sára Bejlek. What do you think so many young Czech girls go upstairs?
“It’s really great to see that we have a future and that even young girls like that can move up the female ladder and I’m not the only one.”
But now you are in a company representative of such capacities as Marketa Vondroušová or Karolína Muchová. How did they accept you?
“I know the girls. When the team competitions were played during covid in 2020, I actually met all the girls except Maruška (Bouzková). But I know her too, we played one against the other. another now in Indian Wells. I’ve never had a problem working as a team, even with girls in the youth categories we always had a great atmosphere. I hope that will continue in the adult teams too.”
What would it be like for you to have a chance to play the BJK Cup now?
“It just occurred to me. I have already played for Czechia a lot of matches in team competitions in the youth categories. It would be the first time for adults. I’m not afraid that this be a great experience. It will come one day, either this week or in the years to come.”
The first big wins? Everything will go to tennis again
Through the eyes of Father Hynek Fruhvirt
“I accompanied Linda to tournaments in America and I must admit that her results were a satisfaction for a lot of work. On the other hand, I was not surprised. I know that it is in her, I was just waiting for the honest work to show. I thought it was only a matter of time. It’s good that it arrived so soon and we didn’t have to wait any longer.
The success in Miami was emotional for all of us. It’s a huge tournament as busy as any grand slam. It is a great encouragement. But still only the first sip. Paradoxically, I liked Linda the most in the lost round with Badosa. The result was 2:6, 3:6, but those who can read a bit of stats will see that she had nine breakballs there and the match lasted an hour and a half. She had a good chance today against the third player in the standings.
On the other hand, there is still a lot to work on. We must continue to play tennis with humility and respect. A few results does not mean that you are at the top. This result has been such an encouragement, but there is still a lot of work to do. On the other hand, it was nice to hear that people in the tennis world were happy and thought it was going in the right direction for him. So hopefully they say so in a year or two. That’s always the question.
Patrick Mouratoglou also praised us, he goes to Linda’s matches, sometimes we discuss it together. We have a long-term cooperation together and it works. He always has good ideas. But he can’t help us with free cards, they are given by owners or tournament directors. Linda now has three in America, which is amazing. These people showed us how respectful they were to Linda when they gave her this opportunity. At the same time, America is a tennis superpower, they have dozens of players who would love to receive a card. And yet, a girl from such a small state brought her somewhere in Europe, this is unique.
At the moment Linda and I have traveled across America, coach Jan Příhoda is dedicated to his youngest daughter Brenda and we are looking for someone for Linda. I hope to find someone suitable soon.
It’s true that she has now won nearly $105,000 on her trip to the United States, which will help us. But in the tennis economy, if you manage to have money, you are just as obliged, if you want to do it, to put everything back into the sport. Because any individual sport today is extremely expensive and you have to put all your resources into it. And we do. So for us it only has an effect insofar as we can improve the preparation.
There will also be better opportunities thanks to the move to 170th place in the rankings. It’s a big difference, she won a hundred places, she’ll get into better tournaments. But he still has the limit that he can only play 14 women’s tournaments in his 16 years per year. It’s rough. So we actually have to save on tournaments, we can’t go where we want. »
FRUHVIRT This year on the WTA CIRCUIT
Charleston Clay 2nd Round
Bencicová (Šv.) 1:6, 6:7
Konjuhova (HRV) 4:6, 6:1, 6:3
Miami Concrete Round 4
Badosa (Sp.) 2: 6, 3: 6
Azarenkova (BEL) 6:2, 3:0 ret
Mertens (Belg.) 7:5, 2:6, 6:1
Kovinicova (C. Hora) 6:0, 6:4
Indian Wells qualifying
Buzkova 0:6, 5:7