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13 October 2011

Interview with Petr Pala



  • Manuel Brocos

Photo: Florian EiseleLucie Safarova and Petr Pala (CZE)

FedCup.com: What players have you nominated for the team?

Petr Pala: Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova, Lucie Hradecka and Kveta Peschke.

FC: What will be the key factors that will define this final? Is there any specific match that you regard as crucial?

P.P: I don´t regard any match as crucial. I think it is going to be a very tight tie, we are facing one of the strongest teams in the world, probably the strongest because they have so many good players at the top of the rankings. We are not going to go there as favourites but we are going to be there to give the 100% and we hope that it´s going to be enough for the win.

FC: How do you qualify the chances for both teams in this tie? 50-50 or you see your country as favourite?

P.P: As I said, I think the Russians are the favourites. They have four players in the top 20 and we only have one, that´s why I would put them as favourites.

FC: After two consecutive years reaching the semifinals the Czech Fed Cup team has at last reached the final stage. Is this the confirmation of the quality of the current generation?

P.P: Sure, it can be said that the quality of these girls is very high because we have seven players in the Top 50, then we have very good players in doubles that rank high. Some of them have won Grand Slams in doubles, also in mixed doubles and even in singles (Kvitova) so I think is a great year for Czech tennis.

We´re putting together a very strong team and I hope is going to stay for a couple more years.

FC: Do you think that the atmosphere at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow can play a decisive role in the tie?

P.P: We are looking forward for a big crowd even if it´s not going to be home crowd (for us). Our girls like the big stage and we know that the Czech fans are going to be a big part of it. We know that they will cheer for us as they always do and we are very grateful for it. It´s going to be a very interesting and tight tie to watch.

FC: Are you expecting to have many Czech Republic fans in the final?

P.P: Yes, they always travel with us and I know they will be there again and there will some more people so I think is going to be a great atmosphere.

FC: Czech Republic is renowned for having produced some of the finest female tennis players ever like Martina Navratilova. Is this generation a sign that this times are coming back?

P.P: We have a Wimbledon champion, she´s only 21 and she´s ranked No. 4 in the world. It´s great to have someone like this again because we´ve always had great players in men’s and women’s tennis. We have had many players at the top like Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna, Hana Mandikova, Helena Sukova... this was the strongest generation that we had so far. Those were great, great players and I hope someone can reach as high or even higher but still it is very good to be in Top 50 or many players around hundred.

FC: This year, Petra Kvitova has confirmed all the expectations that were put on her on the previous seasons. Where do you see her in a few years?

P.P: I always thought that she could become a Grand Slam champion or becoming a No. 1 player in the world but I didn´t expect it so early. So I was surprised and very happy for her when she won this year. She´s still very young and I think that in a few years she could be even better than she is now.

FC: What are your thoughts about the Russian team?

P.P: The players that have been nominated are not a big surprise for me because they are the players that I was expecting. I don´t know if Maria Sharapova will play or not, at this moment she´s not nominated... It´s a very strong team, they have won the competition several times, they have Grand Slam finalists and champions and they play at home. They are going to be there for winning.

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