Klara Koukalova: I want to come back to the top 40

An experienced Czech representative Klara Koukalova (33) is appearing at the tournament in Trnava for the first time in her career. At the EMPIRE Slovak Open 2015, the winner of the 3 WTA events in singles, would like to stop the ranking drop that has emerged during the recent weeks. In the interview, the 84th player of the world, told us more about her attempts, about Daniela Hantuchova, Martina Hingisova and about the cooperation with her coach Igor Brukner.

After you had been considering your participation at the tournaments, you have finally chosen Trnava. Why?

Unfortunately, during one month, I lost more that 700 WTA ranking points and I dropped from No. 34 to No. 84 position, so I had to arrange my tournament schedule in the way that gets me to the main draw. I had to fight for the highest possible number of points, as I want to come back to my previous rankings position from the beginning of the year. The tournament in Trnava has really helped me with this plan.


I guess that your colleagues from your homeland, Czech Republic, told you about their experience with the tournament. Did they? Barbora Strycova, Renata Voracova, Sandra Zahlavova, but also Lucie Hradecka, Barbora Krejcikova, Katerina Siniakova or Pliskova sisters played here.

I have only heard positive references about the tournament in Trnava, so I had no reason to ask further questions. (smile)


EMPIRE Slovak Open is played on the clay courts. How do you feel when you play at this type of court? Is it your favourite?

The clay is my favorite type of court, unfortunately, I suffer from a very strong allergy during the clay season so I do not really look like as if I liked the clay. At the beginning of the last year, I played at the finals of the clay tournament WTA in Rio de Janeiro.


ESO 2015 has 100 000 USD prize money, it is one of the ITF tournaments. The last time you have played at such tournament was one year ago in Prague. Is there any difference between these one hundred thousand dollars tournaments and WTA events?

Recently, I've used to play at only one IFT tournament per season in Prague. This tournament had always been perfectly organized and I suppose it also had higher level than some WTA tournaments.


Your WTA website profile says that you admire Martina Hingis born in Kosice. Could you please explain why it is her you admire?

I have always admired her for her brains that she used during the play. She had never been especially strong, tall or with a perfect serve, but she had been so clever and far sighted that she eventually became the most dominant lady in women tennis.


Which of your single WTA titles – Florianopolis, Hertogenbosch and Portoroz – do you appreciate the most?

For me, the most precious title is the title from Florianopolis, because it had been won after the long nine years. But I am also sorry for the twelve participations at the WTA tournaments singles finals. I could have won more titles. (smile)


Who are the women tennis players that are closest to you?

My best friends are Czech and Slovak women tennis players.


Daniela Hantuchova, for example, is one of the players of your generation. Do you play sparring together?

Quite often, I play sparring with Daniela at the tournaments. The training with Daniela is often very intense. (smile)


What is your assessment of the beginning of your tennis season? What are you satisfied with and what do you find dissatisfying?

At the beginning of this year, I lost to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in January in China in the third set 6-7. After this match, I have lost lot of confidence, so I was losing the tight matches. Moreover, as I had already said, I have lost 700 points for a month. Your confidence cannot come back in a day, it took some time. But I am happy that I have been feeling well on the court and I am ready to fight for the lost positions.


How is you cooperation with your coach Igor Brukner who has been coaching your for almost two years? For such an experienced player as you are, is it still possible to get a useful advice from the coach?

I think that in my age, the coach is not important for the tennis technique but he is very important to consult your tactics, as the other women players are continuously improving. They are more balanced, they are working hard on the development of their game, each of them wants to win and on the court, they are ready to do anything just to win. Sometimes, the results are almost the same, and even the slightest detail might be decisive. Then, it is really important to be perfectly prepared and to know, what to play so that your opponent gets into greatest possible trouble. It is important for the coach to follow the players at the matches and to give them the most appropriate advice. I have been cooperating with Igor for almost two years by now and I am really satisfied.


How do you see your future with tennis? What would you like to do after your career ends?

After I finish my career, I'll take a rest from travelling, sleeping in hotels, packing the suitcases etc. But tennis has always been my life, and it will be this way forever. So I would really like to keep working in this field, to use my experiences and to pass them further.