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Quote of the (Kayla) Day: Czech-ing in with the on-fire qualifier at Roland Garros
After beating Madison Keys in an all-American affair, Day had a little laugh at her own expense as she reflected on a childhood idol.
Published Jun 01, 2023
WATCH: Kayla Day spoke to Tennis Channel after upsetting compatriot Madison Keys in three sets in Paris.
American qualifier Kayla Day is in the form of her life at Roland Garros thus far, but even that hasn't stopped her from having a little laugh at her own expense.
After beating Madison Keys in an all-American affair Thursday to reach the third round, reporters in Paris were eager to learn more about Day, the 2016 US Open junior champion who flirted with a near-Top 100 ranking as a teenager but dipped to as low as No. 578 in the rankings in September of 2021. A resurgent last 18 months saw Day come into Paris ranked at a near-career best of No. 138. (She was No. 122 six years ago.)
After she reached the third round of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open as a 17-year-old, Day famously revealed that she had two dogs, Rafa and Garbine, both named after their famous tennis-playing counterparts. One of the most notable facts to come out of the 23-year-old in the Paris press room is that she is half Czech through her mother, and speaks the language fluently.
That led to a trip down memory lane, where Day reflected on her childhood idols, and laughed at how the younger version of herself compared her tennis to that of Petra Kvitova.
Q. I've read you have a Czech background from your mother and that you can speak fluently Czech. Is it true? What is your relationship with this country today?
KAYLA DAY: Oh, I'm actually a citizen of the Czech Republic. I have a Czech passport, which is very helpful when I come to Europe.
And yes, my mom, she was born and raised in Prague, and I speak fluent Czech. That's the only reason why I'm good at tennis, because I'm half Czech. (Laughter.)
Q. There have been a couple of good Czech lefties. Do you try to play like any lefty I can think of?
KAYLA DAY: I wish (smiling).
Q. I mean, who do you emulate?
KAYLA DAY: I mean, growing up I loved Nadal. That was like who I looked up to, and obviously Martina Navratilova, Czech lefty.
Q. (Off mic.)
KAYLA DAY: Yeah, but one time I remember a really long time ago I told my coach at that time, Oh, I like Kvitova. I think he asked the question, like, Who are you most similar to? I said Kvitova. He said, What are you talking about? You play nothing the same. Get that out of your mind (smiling).
Yeah, I wish, she's obviously a Grand Slam champion, incredible player, but yeah, I'm not super similar to Kvitova in the way we play.
She also gave a pup-date: A few more furry friends have come into the Day household over the past six years.
Q. Since we last saw you at Indian Wells, have you acquired any new dogs and are they named after tennis players?
KAYLA DAY: We have acquired more dogs...
Q. Same names, new names?
KAYLA DAY: None of them are tennis players. But yes, we have currently four dogs. Two mini golden doodles, but they're not mini. One is 65 pounds. Not tennis players.
The two tennis player dogs are still around, but they're getting up there, yeah (smiling).
Q. Those were Garbine and Rafa, if I'm remembering?
KAYLA DAY: Yeah, we only name them after Spanish tennis players.
Q. What are your other dogs' names?
KAYLA DAY: The other ones' names are Jasper and Calvin.
Q. Of the four dogs, who has the highest ranking?
KAYLA DAY: Right now? I have no -- well, I don't know. (Laughter.)