In Wimbledon Loss, Karolina Pliskova Sees a Silver Lining
WIMBLEDON, England – Karolina Pliskova was pleased with the way she played in the Wimbledon final on Saturday, despite a disastrous start – she lost the first 14 points of the game – and the fact that it ended in a 6- 3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 loss to Ashleigh Barty.
Where Pliskova was disappointed, she said, was after the game. “I never cry – never!” Pliskova said as she began to cry during the trophy ceremony. “And now?”
At her press conference over an hour later, Pliskova said she had “never had a better time in my career” and was “more sensitive than I normally am” afterwards. have received the enthusiastic support of the crowd and the finalist. plaque of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
“I feel like, okay, I’m crying in the locker room, but not on the pitch,” Pliskova said, berating herself further. “Somehow I couldn’t. People, they applauded so much. Too many emotions.
Tennis, as Pliskova well knows, offers extreme extremes of success and failure. A total of 128 women start a draw, and this number is halved each round until only one remains to hold the trophy. The 127 others are losers.
“We both tried to win so someone has to lose,” Pliskova said with a small shrug. “You have to accept it. I definitely will.
“I know how to lose, trust me,” she added with a laugh. “I’m so good at it.”
Pliskova’s career is, by some cold measures, disappointing. She has played 36 times in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, including 21 in the top 10, and has yet to win a title. In her previous final appearance at the 2016 US Open, Pliskova led Angelique Kerber, 3-1, in the third set before the German returned to claim the title.
But Pliskova also reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings, having spent eight weeks in No. 1 in 2017, which turns out to be a rarer achievement. Since the rankings began in November 1975, only 27 women have reached the top spot, while 51 women have won major singles titles.
“I’ve realized now, over the past two years, that even if I don’t win a Grand Slam, there are girls who win one and then they don’t win anything – they’re not even in the top. 10; they can’t keep it up, ”Pliskova said in an interview earlier this week. “Honestly, I don’t know which is better. And with age, I kind of appreciate the level that I was able to hold more. It might be even harder than having just two amazing weeks once in a lifetime.
In a time of instability in women’s tennis and myriad of two-week wonders, Pliskova has proven to be a model of consistency. Last week she stepped out of the top 10 for the first time in 230 weeks; next week, on the strength of her career in the final, she will come back.
Although Pliskova made her top 10 debut less than five years ago, her endurance clearly left a disproportionate impression on Barty, who guessed that Pliskova had been “one of the most consistent on the tour” for a while. period of “five or 10 years.”
“Most of the time I feel like she’s underrated,” Barty said of Pliskova. “She’s a hell of a competitor. She wants him extremely hard. She fights so hard for every point. She has truly invested 100% in each point. You have to do your best and be committed the entire match to compete with her. “
Barty, who won the two major finals she played, gave Pliskova a vote of confidence. “She’s always been there, always knocked on the door, always giving herself the opportunity,” Barty said. “I know the Grand Slam title for her is not far off.”
Although players are fighting harder than ever in their 30s, it’s impossible to know how many more opportunities will present themselves for 29-year-old Pliskova, who remains the only active player in either men’s or women’s tennis to have reached No.1 without having won a Grand Slam Tournament.
For Amélie Mauresmo, Simona Halep and Kim Clijsters, a first Grand Slam title came a few years after reaching first place in the standings.
For Caroline Wozniacki, who reached first place in 2010, a Grand Slam title did not arrive until 2018.
And for some other top players like Marcelo Rios, Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic, it never came at all.
“Of course my dream will always be now, forever, to win the Grand Slam – I’ve been trying to do that since I started playing tennis,” Pliskova said. “Of course, I achieved some goals that I always wanted. That will always be my goal for now.
Pliskova said the Wimbledon race would give her “more confidence, more conviction, more of everything to compete in the next Grand Slam tournaments,” starting with next month’s US Open. “There is still a chance,” she said. “I played the final there, so it’s not impossible. I’ll always try, so let’s see.
Pliskova’s hunger remains, but so does her ability to cope with disappointment, a skill she said “all great champions and all great names” had to learn.
“Accepting that maybe someone played better that day, or that someone is a little better, whatever the reason, I think that’s important as well,” Pliskova said. “Yeah, I know how to do that. “
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