“I wasn’t surprised that Krejcikova won the grand slam.” BJ King fell in love with the new stars, but also with Prague iROZHLAS
She won 12 grand slams in singles, added another 16 in doubles and 11 in the mix. A total of 39 grand slam titles can be proud of the woman after whom they renamed the Fed Cup tennis to the Billie Jean King Cup last September.
Radiožurnál, together with several other journalists from the Czech Republic and France, was given the opportunity to connect remotely with the legendary American tennis player.
The government put 65 million into the finals of the BJ King Cup. “The agreement is de facto ready,” says the head of the tennis association
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What do you say to the fact that the final of the BJ King women’s team competition will take place in Prague?
I think it’s a special tournament and also necessary, because it didn’t have to take place at all due to covid measures. The International Tennis Federation ITF is doing a fantastic job, because the Davis Cup has already taken place and we were lucky that this tournament is being organized in Prague. Many thanks to everyone who took part in it in the Czech Republic.
How significant competition do you think this is?
You know, I still call it the Fed Cup because I’m used to it. I also experienced the first year in 1963. I think that as footballers have the World Cup, this will be the World Cup for tennis players and so will the Davis Cup for tennis players.
Are you looking forward to having the opportunity to see Prague?
Yes, it is a beautiful city and I must say that all Czech players have always told me how beautiful Prague is. When I trained Martina Navrátilová, we talked a lot about the Czech Republic.
The Czech tennis players will enter the fight for the Billie Jean King Cup with a duel with Germany, then they will challenge the Swiss
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The Czechia already hosted the premiere year of the Laver Cup in 2017, and now the next premiere of the world tournament awaits it. Is this country a specific place for tennis players?
It’s very special, because of those players and people. What’s the name of your speed skating champion, Martina …? (Martina Sáblíková – note Red.) So she’s great.
I have met a lot of people from the Czech Republic in the past, for example Jan Kodeš. In 1973, we danced at the ball after Wimbledon, which he won that year. I think fans around the world should understand that the Davis Cup and BJK are like the World Tennis Championships. It is also important.
What do you say about Barbora Krejčíková? Were you surprised that Roland Garros won?
When you watch her, it was no surprise that she won the French Open. She deceives a lot because she plays much better than she looks at first glance. She is really good, intelligent in choosing a place and when I heard her story, how she was influenced by Jana Novotná, I got it. She just came to her, knocked on the door, and told her she needed help. They became friends. Jana then left, but it is simply life experiences that may move you on.
In the final of the US Open, players who were less than 20 years old competed – Canadians Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu. In what direction do you think tennis will continue to develop?
Tennis is developing very fast now, which is great. They came back maybe to drop, sometimes you hear among the fans, ‘drop it, drop it! ‘The service has a completely different level. When you watch Emma and Leyla at the US Open, no one their age has won ten games in a row without losing a set. Emma has great technique and so does Leyla. It’s great that Leyla Fernandez will be at the tournament in Prague, because I’m looking forward to seeing her play.
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