Tag Archives: Czech Republic

My First Time Fed Cup Experience Czech Republic vs USA

Over the years I’ve attended plenty of professional tennis tournaments and they all have been equally tremendous fun. However, fed cup was something that seemed extra special and entertaining to me and as soon I knew USA was hosting my favorite team of all time, a team that represents the beautiful country of Czech Republic, I knew I had to make it happen. I first prayed it would be in a location that was accessible to me. Lo and behold, they put it in Florida. Not just a random city in Florida… Tampa, an area that I was very familiar with over my lifetime. This was my chance to see some of my favorite players play in a setting unlike any other.

There was only one obstacle I thought that could stop me from going and that’s the one that I ended up having to face. I enjoy watching all of the Czech players play I always have; but of course I’m going to have a few that stand out above the rest that I really wanted to see play. Everyone knows Petra is the one that I love most aka the love of my life. We knew before any of this was possible that she couldn’t play until the final at best if they ended up making it there. So she was out. There were still the other three big players that had a chance to play and it seemed at least one of Bara Strycova, Lucie Safarova, and Karolina Pliskova would play to give their team a chance to make another final. I was admittedly gutted when they all passed on the decision to play. I obviously realized going all the way to Florida from Europe just for the weekend was never going to be easy for them and the decision was understandable. I just needed a bit of time to let it sink in.

I immediately gave no thought (which was dumb) and said it’s not worth it without of them playing. That thought disintegrated from my mind only about an hour later. The Czechs RARELY come to the United States let alone a city I can actually go to. They have only come twice in the last 27 years. 27!! The last time was 2003 and the time before was 1990. So I did not want to take any chances and miss it because who knows how long it’ll be before they’ll be back. I mean yes it could happen sooner next time but I’m not about to wait and find out. Plus by the time they do come back, I still assume the quickest time possible is 4-5 years and my faves could all be retired by then and then maybe I don’t want to go. OK I REALIZE WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY! ME GOING NOW IN THAT SAME SITUATION IS NO DIFFERENT THAN IN 5 YEARS BUT STILL… 4-5 IS STILL BEST CASE! I’m not sure I still want to go when I’m like 40. Anyways so here I am!!

Ok that was my background on my decision to go to this tie. Now the real experience of everything about attending it. The hotel I stayed at it was extremely close to the resort (5 mins drive) that was amazing. Now where they played is an actual resort where people stay and you could see all of the different amenities they had there like nice rooms, a big pool, tennis courts, golf course, etc. it was quite beautiful. The resort only knew they were going to be hosting fed cup for about a month a half ahead of time. So they had to plop a stadium down onto the resort somewhere in that amount of time which they did and it holds about 3,000 people so it’s nice all things considering. If you were curious about how the parking was sorted out, I’ll tell you. It wasn’t that bad actually. With it being a resort, it just felt like being inside a little neighborhood so it was like one big circle. There were different lots around the resort and none of them were that far from each other. You could even walk to them from the stadium if you really wanted but shuttles would come and go from the lots and that was that. Once you got to the stadium, the actual grounds around it were extremely limited. There were basically little plaza square areas around each stadium exit with about 2-3 food/drink stands and that was about it. But you could go way back to the resort where there was much more room (like by the huge pool) if you wanted; there wasn’t an issue with leaving the grounds area and not being able to come back. Because of that, it was never as crowded as you’d expect in those little squares which I liked.

The stadium looked great as far as I could tell and I feel like any seat you had would’ve been terrific. It’s obviously not a gigantic stadium like other events I’ve attended so it makes even the highest seats pleasant for viewing. I sat in one of the corners of the stadium which I love and the action was great. The atmosphere was how you would expect, heavy USA cheering but a few sections scattered about with Czech fans and the biggest group was behind the Czech bench which is usually how it is for visiting teams. The most notable thing about the atmosphere was the noise. I knew it was coming but still, I could clearly tell the crowd around me at least was not ready for the heavy blasting of vuvuzelas, trumpets, and whatever else they had after every point. Especially the Czechs behind the bench. They let them roar after every point they won. I enjoyed it personally but it’s not a typical tennis thing so it had to throw off the crowd a bit. At least until they got used to it. If they ever did.

I’m not gonna talk too much about the matches because you all saw them or at least know what happened. I’ll just say live tennis is as good as it gets no matter who is playing. I didn’t know what I’d get from this tie but it was as intense as I ever hoped. I was also rooting for it to go to a deciding doubles rubber to see what that would be like and it did which was fantastic. Maky showed brilliant strength and mental toughness on the last day with the Czechs down 1-2 to force that decider and as a Czech fan that was the coolest part of the weekend to see someone like her succeed against the tough crowd when it mattered most. That was the match I enjoyed most.

I’m someone who enjoys going against the majority crowd and getting to show my Czech pride was so invigorating. I was fistpumping, pojding, and sitting next to a great group of fans who appreciated how good the Czech girls played despite rooting for USA unsurprisingly. My favorite part of it all was the constant crowd chant battles of U-S-A! U-S-A! Vs ČES-KO! ČES-KO! This is what it’s all about. The players were heavily into it and the crowd never let up either. Regardless of the result, I’ll never forget this weekend and will hold my head high of the girls’ effort. They did their country proud. Good luck to USA in the final as well!

Thanks for reading!

Jake

 

Let The Hype Begin!! Every Single Thing I Want You to Know About Kvitalep Part III

Czech Republic vs Romania. We had the dream come true. But then we received a massive scare when Simo decided to skip it for surgery. That’s when I figured we would never get this matchup again because if we couldn’t get it in something this perfectly aligned… when could we??  A few days later however, in a pleasantly shocking decision she decided to postpone that surgery to play in this fed cup tie. So now we can confirm it. Finally. This is an article I’ve been wanting to write for a very long time. If you know me you would know by now that my life in the tennis fandom world revolves around Kvitty and Simo. That’s what I call them just about all of the time you know so I’m sticking with it here. Ever since mid-2014 when I became a full time #HalepBand member I’ve wished to see these two play each other at every tournament to witness as much cuteness and beautiful tennis on court at one time. Of course, that’s not possible every week but I never thought it would take nearly two years for them to meet again after their last meeting which was in May 2014 in the Madrid Semifinals. More about that a bit later.

Anyway, this article is intended to be about their relationship, their previous matches against each other, missed chances of more matches, a preview of this upcoming match, what I hope to see, who I intend to cheer for and how I will do it, and anything else I can think of. We have a whole week to hype this up! Let’s have some fun!!

Relationship

It all started at the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore where they both qualified, including Simo for the first time in her career. This is the top players’ best chance to hang out with each other every year and apparently these two hit it off. In the following year, the first event of the year in Shenzhen they were the only two top 10 players that played and were heavily featured together in the off court activities. Oh the fun I had during that week. You had to figure it blossomed even more during that time together and the season had just begun. In Melbourne a few weeks after this I remember Simo was asked the question about friends on the tour and Kvitty was the first name she mentioned as a new friend. That’s the first time I heard her say that. (Search Simona Halep Fan Chat AO 2015 to find it) You can see her answer one of my questions too! Simo is continuously asked this question and pretty much always gives the same answer. Also Petra was asked this question too before Shenzhen even started and responded with a quality answer as well. 

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There have been other gatherings at player parties where they are spotted next to each other and it always leads me to believe they very much enjoy each other’s company. The last thing I have to say about this that I don’t know if everybody knew but in an exclusive Romanian interview with Simo recently, Simo mentioned in Singapore this past year that she told Kvitty that she looked ‘sexy’ in a dress she was wearing. Kvitty responded with “I know, I’m going out to the club later” They laughed a lot about this and this an example of the part of the friendship that I think happens behind the scenes that we’ll never know about it (besides this) but it’s a strong bond I can tell. The good times together will be back again this week stay tuned!

Previous Meetings

Not a ton to look back on sadly but the two we got were very interesting. The first one came back in 2013 in the New Haven Final. It brings up one of my weirdest and funny memories that I have to share again for those who might not have known.

At this point in time I had been a hardcore Kvitty fan and this was the first time I kid you not that I had heard of the girl now known to me as Super Simo. I knew she was on a hot streak winning lots of events and then beat Wozniacki to make the final here. I still figured how much harm could she possibly inflict on the great queen Petra? This was Petra’s home and a place where she didn’t lose, so I could expect a win against this unknown girl right? Wrong. Very very wrong. Kvitty had her chances early to break and take a lead but didn’t and from there the wheels fell off. It’s like she put all of her energy into breaking that game and when couldn’t, she kind of shut it down after realizing how well Simo could fight off her power. I’m not gonna go into heavy details for either match but watch the highlights if you can for this one and the one point I want to point out is the second break point for Kvitty at 2-1 30-40. A fab point that ends with a passing winner from Simo. A perfect example of the kind of points these two play.

It ended with a routine 6-2 6-2 win for Simo and it lead to the beginning of my extreme hatred of Simo. Seeing the only person I adored as much as Kvitty get blasted this easily in a final was tough for me to take and I didn’t handle it well. I wanted nothing to do with Simo and it was a phase I heavily regret these days. At least I got over it very well as you can see! At least we have this glorious pic that I wish I could have cherished more back in the day!

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Their next matchup in Madrid was much better than the first one as it went the distance and they both brought the goods. I had a much different perspective watching this one as well compared to the first because at this point Simo had really grown on me and jumped into second in line behind Petra as players I really supported. I wasn’t as hardcore with her yet as I am now but it was still hard to root against her. It was the only match Simo ever won as a fan where I was disappointed. Weird feeling. Petra really should’ve won this match up a set and a break but she let Simo hang around and Simo used that fuel to steal the 2nd set and cruise through the third. Still, it’s a match I love watching and more of what I hope to see in this upcoming match.

Missed Chances

Last year there were a lot of times where I thought a certain event they had a great chance of meeting but never did. Three tournaments though we were one win away from it happening and of course each time it failed. You can also count the 2014 and 2015 WTA Finals as missed chances for a guaranteed match.

The first one came in Shenzhen the very first event of the year where they were the one and two seeds and really no other competition it seemed to meet in the final. However, after Simo made the final in the first SF, Kvitty would crumble in the second SF against Timea Bacsinszky to crush the dream. The second came in Rome where they were lined up to meet up in the SFs and Simo made it there and all Kvitty had to do was beat CSN and couldn’t of course because that’s one of her toughest opponents to beat these days. Finally, at the US Open they both made the QFs and I guess technically we weren’t a match away exactly since Petra lost first, but Simo did win next and we would’ve had it had Petra beat Pennetta. The day they meet that late in a slam is the day I lose my mind. Not sure I’ll want it as bad as I do now if it happens.

PREVIEW OF PART III

Now that all of the background is out of the way I can finally move forward and discuss the current match coming up this weekend. It’s very hard to know what kind of match we’ll get considering both are not at 100% form yet it would seem and neither has started their year well at all. This a very intriguing matchup with both players having two very contrasting styles and it makes for fun tennis in my opinion. Kvitty likes to crush the ball and go for lines and not as much defending. She can also have a very strong net game when she feels like coming in. Simo will make players extend points which makes it harder for power players to make fewer errors, and she does that by defending very well with her fantastic speed. It’ll be crucial for Kvitty to be accurate and end the points early otherwise Simo can force her to make more errors in longer rallies. I think Petra should try more dropshots and make Simo come to the net which is easily the weakest part of her game. Also big returns will be necessary to attack a serve that is weaker than her own. This will be a tremendous setting in Romania where the crowd will be fully behind Simo and it doesn’t mean Kvitty will be holding anything back. You can bet this will be a big match in deciding the tie and perhaps won’t go until Sunday. All I’m saying is get your popcorn ready for some fireworks.

I’m asked every so often who do I cheer for in a situation like this and I really like that question because it shows it’s hard to tell who I am more lenient towards because I love them both almost equally the same. I pride myself in that because I put in the effort, I give it my all to make sure I never miss either of them play a match, and I try to make it seem like I would never let them down as a fan. These two make it easy to love them and it’s extremely hard to pick against either. For some people with multiple faves it may be easier to tell who they are more devoted to and that’s fine, everyone has their own feelings and I love that. I just want to make it clear that this isn’t as easy for me as you might think. All of that being said, it always has been and always will be my first love Petra who I support in a time like this. I have never seen myself rooting against her no matter what. I made that promise since day one. Petra molded me into the tennis fan I am today. The first girl to play tennis I ever saw that was so kind and genuine and pure off court and such a talented player on court. Even in the worst of times I could see her best; she made me keep believing over and over again that when things don’t go right, brighter days are always ahead. She helped me find wonderful people all over the world that I didn’t know existed with the same passion for her that I have. I couldn’t thank her enough for what she’s helped me with since I became her fan and she’ll never know it but that’s ok. Everyone usually knows who their top favorite is through thick and thin and I don’t like to choose on the spot but if I have to like now I will. When I am watching a fave I’m not a person who can just say I’m rooting only for a good match. There has to be a purpose and that is to see them win.

However, that doesn’t take anything at all away from Simo. It will be so tough for me to not get the same happy feeling I get after each point, game, and set she wins. I like to think of this matchup as not rooting against Simo, but rooting for Petra. That’s basically how I think during every match with my faves. I don’t root against, I root for. I may not want Simo to beat Kvitty but it doesn’t mean I’ll like her any less if she does. Just don’t expect me to be as fired up how I usually am after a win. It’s another match and I’ll clap her good shots, smile at her cuteness, and appreciate the fact she’ll give it her all for her country. I’ll do the same for Kvitty besides the fact I hope she is the one on top at the end. I am also mainly rooting for a good handshake at the end and I can believe we’ll get our best one of the three meetings this time because of how close they’ve gotten. It’ll be tough to see one lose but in a time like this of course it has to happen.

I hope #HalepBand doesn’t take anything the wrong way when I cheer for Kvitty in this match. I am almost certain they won’t but I’ve never seen this match as a true member of #HalepBand so I still wonder. You guys know it’s just for a match and seeing her play tennis is enough for me to be happy win or lose. Plus it’s just a first round fed cup tie. There will be much harder matches to stress over than this one in the future. I’m gonna try to make it as fun as possible during the match and I look forward to both fanbases tweeting at the same time! Something I really am curious about and excited to see how it will turn out. I’m sure I can expect a great day due to both fanbases being amazing.

Thanks for reading if you did the whole thing. It’s been nearly two years and believe me it has felt much longer than that. Since we have a week to enjoy the buildup, I thought it was fitting to write this and pour out my feelings for these two and hopefully answer any questions about it you may have had. Good luck to both and may the best girl win!

If you want, you can share your prediction of who you think will win in the comments section below or reply on twitter. I am interested to know what your thoughts are!