Rebecca Sramkova (19) was this year‘s star of the Slovak Fed Cup team in Italy, where she managed to beat even such experienced players as Sara Errani and Francesca Schiavone. One year ago, she played at the EMPIRE Slovak Open in semifinals. Now, she has even higher ambitions. She is currently world No. 120, but she would like to improve her position. "I think the spectators should come and see the tournament, because they can see the top quality tennis here. The top-ranked players are going to participate and the atmosphere will be great," says Rebecca Sramkova in an interview for www.empireslovakopen.sk.
Last year, you were in the semifinals of the EMPIRE Slovak Open. As a player, how far have you moved since then?
"I think that the last season was a very good one. I have moved up about 200 spots in the WTA rankings. I was successful at ITF tournaments, I improved especially my fitness level which also improved my self-confidence and things connected to that."
Was the last year‘s duel in Trnava the best for you? You gradually beaten many players, such as Barbora Krejcikova, Jana Cepelova and Viktoria Kuzmova. But then you didn‘t manage to beat Anastasija Sevastova. Had you already been exhausted?
"The best match was probably the one with Jana Cepelova. We have played a very good match. In fact, it was a great tournament, each match was quite balanced. I was not able to manage Sevastova physically."
Do you watch the tournament even after you lost? Do you still care who wins?
"It depends on the emotions I feel after my matches. I didn‘t use to watch them at all. Now, I watch them here and there."
Some of the most brilliant singles players do also play doubles. Have you ever been interested in it?
"No, never. I have always concentrated on the singles. But recently, people are starting to suggest that I should try. We have talked about it with Daniela Hantuchova, and we agreed we would start playing together at the small tournaments."
How do you feel about playing in Trnava? There is an order in your play: in 2014, you were in the first round of qualifying, in 2015, you were in the second round of the main draw and last year you were even in the singles semifinals…
"Now, TC EMPIRE Trnava is, in fact, my home club. I have an opportunity to train in the international EMPIRE Tennis Academy. So I am used to the courts and I like playing there."
What kind of ambitions do you have now? The highest, probably….
"We are going to win." (smile)
What do you expect from the cooperation with new coach Boris Sedlacek? Why have you chosen this coach?
"We have known each other for 8 years, he has been watching my success with me. He used to be my sparring partner and my coach in my father‘s academy. He knows everything about me. He does not want to change my play, we are going to continue playing my style, we are just planning to change the methods a little bit."
Who else is in your team?
"I arrange my sparring partners as I need, and I have two fitness coaches, Rudolf Patek and Robert Krestanko. Each of them helps me with different type of fitness preparation. I have also started the cooperation with the psychologist Peter Bielik, who works for the EMPIRE Tennis Academy in Trnava."
How has the Fed Cup experience in Italy enriched you? And what about your experience of playing at home against Netherlands? What was the best thing about the Fedcup? Was it a collaborative atmosphere or team spirit?
"Playing in Italy, it was a dream coming true for me. At home, unfortunately, I did not manage to do put up my best performance, but I hope next time I will be more relaxed. Now, I have already performed home so I will be more experienced later. What is the best about this experience is the atmosphere and team cooperation."
What are your ambitions for the rest of the year? Do you have goals such as reaching certain rankings?
"Yes, I have such goals, the long-term and short-term ones. The long-term one is to be in Top 60 in WTA rankings, so that I would ensure my WTA tournaments and grandslams participation."
It is not easy to become successful even on the WTA level. What do you think is the most important?
"You must do everything 100% and you mustn‘t underestimate anything. Every detail can decide your fate."
What would you like to say to your fans from Trnava and Bratislava? Why should they come and see an EMPIRE Slovak Open 2017?
"I think they should come to see the top quality women tennis. The tournament is really full of the top quality players. The participants are very interesting and the atmosphere will be great."