Wednesday February 27, 2013
Czech twins ready to rumble in Kuala Lumpur
KUALA LUMPUR: It was tennis or nothing for the Pliskova twins when they were growing up in Louny, Czech Republic.
At the age of four, Kristyna and Karolina were encouraged to take up the sport by their parents – Radek and Martina – as that was the only sport their parents thought was suitable for girls.
“Our parents introduced us to tennis because they thought it was the best sport for a girl. It was easier for the boys as they have ice-hockey and football in Czech. But for girls, it was just tennis,” said 21-year-old Karolina.
“But in the Czech Republic it’s good to play tennis. We have a lot of good players coming up,” chimed in Kristyna, the older of the two by just two minutes.
The Czech Republic are known to have spawned many great players over the years, like Petr Korda, Ivan Lendl, Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna and world No. 7 Petra Kvitova.
Asked if they were inspired by the tennis greats, the pair had the same answer – an emphatic “no”.
They even admitted that they didn’t really grow up idolising their great compatriots.
“Well, I don’t know. I’m not playing tennis because of them ... I know them and watched them play and they were great players, so ...,” said world No. 90 Kristyna, who is seeded eighth in the singles.
“Because they were in the US and not in Czech. Like Lendl, he’s not in Czech since ... and Navratilova is the same. So maybe there are not many players who stay. Maybe they start in Czech so ...”
The twins, ranked world No. 111, are here for a second stab at the BMW Malaysian Open championship. Last year, they reached the semi-finals in the doubles, losing to the Taiwan-Japan pair of Chan Hao-Ching and Rika Fujiwara 6-4, 6-1.
The pair are not the only set of twins at the championship. They have the Kichenok girls – Lyudmyla and Nadiya – for company.
“Last year we managed to get to the semi-finals. So, it would be nice to do the same or even better this time,” said Kristyna.
“We like playing at this club. But it’s hotter than it was last year. It’s very tough for us, especially coming from the Czech Republic where the weather now is -20°C,” said Karolina.
The pair have not played a competitive doubles matches in four months and will be banking on their trump card – twin-telepathy – to help them get the better of their first round opponents – Ukraine’s Yuliya Beygelzimer and Australian Olivia Rogowska.
Meanwhile, the unseeded Karolina defeated Casey Dellaqua 6-3, 6-2 to set up a second round match against Japanese fifth seed Misaki Doi yesterday.