With its unique format, short sets and cumulative scoring, an adjustment period is certainly required to succeed in Mylan Word TeamTennis. Mylan WTT rookie Eva Hrdinova, however, has been a quick study. Hrdinova, a product of Plzeň in the Czech Republic, currently ranks fourth in the league in mixed doubles winning percentage for the Austin Aces in their debut season. Hrdinova's prowess took center stage in the Aces' 23-22 win over the Texas Wild on July 17, as she and Treat Huey rallied from a break down in the deciding mixed doubles set to force Overtime, and prevailed in a Supertiebreaker to see the Aces to victory against their in-state rivals.
Prior to their road match against the Philadelphia Freedoms on Monday night, Mylan WTT caught up with Hrdinova to talk about her first season in the league, her bonding moment with Venus Williams, her favorite actor and more...
If you could choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
I would go with funny, tall and communicative [friendly].
1. I love to laugh with friends or even on the tennis court; I just want to have fun. In life, there are so many things that are sad, so I think that fun is the first thing that you really need.
2. All my life, I've been tall. I'm 6'3”, so I think that that affected me a little bit. Growing up, when I was a teenager, I was a little shy and everybody...was kind of making fun of me. Now, when I see tall people or kids, they love how tall I am. I think it's kind of cool, too. It kind of goes with the first thing – it's funny to be tall.
3. I think I'm friendly. I like to have fun, even on the tour, and in Mylan World TeamTennis. It's great. It's my first year playing it and it's a lot of fun. I think the people...enjoy it when we hit crazy shots, or when the team is jumping up [and getting excited.]
Are you aware that you're currently the tallest active player on the WTA Tour? (Hrdinova checks in at 1.91m – Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova is right on her heels at 1.90m.)
Sure, I know it actually for the last four or five years. It's my #1 thing (laughter). Everyone's been asking me 'Is Venus taller? Have you checked with her?' I had a chat with her in Auckland this year and we were making fun of it. Actually, I have bigger feet than she does! She's...shorter than me and [so are] Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova.
As a Mylan WTT rookie, what's the biggest difference between playing in the league and on the WTA Tour?
It's totally different. I play just doubles now on the tour...but tennis [itself] is really individual. You travel with your team if you're lucky enough to have your coach and your trainer with you, but most of the time you're by yourself. [With Mylan WTT], it's fun to travel as a team and do everything as a team...I really am a team player so I enjoy it a lot. You just put your soul into it, and your heart, and you're fighting for the team. You feel that you have more responsibility for the whole team, so it gives you more energy. It's a nice feeling.
You're playing with Andy Roddick and for his hometown team this year. What has it been like playing alongside him?
When I was realized I was playing on a team with him, I was really happy because he's a big champion. I got to know him and he's a really nice guy; he's really funny, which I really like. He's helping the city of Austin a lot with his foundation and he's trying to help as much as he can. The first match I played in San Diego, I played mixed doubles with him and I was a little bit nervous. I didn't know what to expect but he was super nice and I had a lot of fun with him. I just want to say 'thank you' to him for adding me to his team.
There are a lot of Czech players currently doing well on the WTA Tour, including Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Do all of you get a chance to spend a lot of time together?
Whenever we have time, we text each other; we're always on WhatsApp! We go out for dinners and stuff, and obviously in the locker room, we always talk in Czech. There are a lot of us and we definitely get along together.
You turned professional in 2004. In a decade on tour, what has been the funniest or most memorable moment for you?
At the US Open in 2009, I saw Will Ferrell in the players' lounge. That's my funniest moment because I love him; he's my favorite actor! First, I was shocked until I realized it was him; I saw him really quickly when I was leaving for my match, so I didn't have time to talk to him. That's definitely the top one.
Hrdinova contributed to the Aces' 21-18 win against the Freedoms on Monday, as she and Huey defeated the No. 1 team in the league, Marcelo Melo and Liezel Huber, in the mixed doubles event by a 5-3 score.