PARIS (Reuters) – Barbora Krejcikova had all the answers on court against Coco Gauff, but she was left with one big question after reaching the French Open semi-finals on Wednesday: What would her former mentor, fellow Czech Jana Novotna, think of her run in Paris?
Former Wimbledon champion Novotna, who died in 2017, oversaw Krejcikova’s career from 2014-17 and made it to the last four at Roland Garros in 1990 and again in 1996, a few months after her protégée was born.
“It’s amazing. It’s perfect,” Krejcikova said of matching Novotna’s best performance in the claycourt Grand Slam.
“I always think about her. Every time I go on court, I step out of the court, I always think about her. I’m always wondering what she would tell me after such a run, all this winning matches and everything.
“I’m just really sad I cannot actually hear her and she cannot really say anything.”
Krejcikova was left to speculate after her 7-6(6) 6-3 victory against 25th seed Gauff.
“She would just tell me that she’s very proud. That’s what I think she would do. She would just tell me ‘Just enjoy, keep going’,” she explained.
“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you just have to do your best every single time you step on court, just focus on tennis, just play.
“She would just be jumping and screaming. That’s how I remember. That’s actually what she was doing when I played (lower tournaments) ITFs and I won ITFs. I guess maybe it would be even bigger right now.”
Krejcikova now faces Greek Maria Sakkari, who knocked out defending champion Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-4, and she can now be looking to become the first Czech woman to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)