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Barbora Krejcikova does it all—and very well, at that
She's not playing doubles this week, but the dual-discipline star will once again show off her versatility in Miami.
Published Mar 25, 2023
WATCH: When Swiatek brought the best out of Krejcikova last fall in Ostrava
We’re only a quarter of the way through the year, and Barbora Krejcikova’s campaign has already been highlighted by many significant victories. In a rarity for contemporary pro tennis, they have come in both singles and doubles.
Last weekend, at Indian Wells, Krejcikova and her longstanding partner Katerina Siniakova took the doubles title. This after the tandem won the Australian Open for the second year running—their seventh major together. (The Czech duo in Miami due to Siniakova’s right wrist injury.)
In between, and in addition,, Krejcikova made a dazzling run to the singles title in Dubai. Four of her six victories at the 1000-level tournament came against Top 10 players: After she fought off four match points versus eighth-ranked Daria Kasatkina in the second round, Krejcikova pulled off the amazing feat of beating world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, world No. 3 Jessica Pegula and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. That made Krejcikova only the fifth player to beat the tour’s Top 3 at the same event since the 1975 inception of the WTA computer rankings. It was Krejcikova’s sixth WTA singles title.
Krejcikova had also beaten Swiatek last fall in Ostrava, a gem of a final that was arguably the best women’s match of 2022.
“When you play with Iga,” Krejcikova said after playing Swiatek in Dubai, “you have to suffer, otherwise you’re not going to win because she’s everywhere. She plays great shots. She likes to play long rallies. So you have to suffer. I don’t mind that.”
Though currently ranked outside the singles Top 10 at No. 13, Krejcikova’s recent accomplishments give considerable hope that she can play even more of the great tennis that led to singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros in 2021. In February 2022, she ran her solo ranking all the way to No. 2.
But from that peak, an elbow injury kept Krejcikova off the tour for nearly three months. Showing up at Roland Garros last May not having played since February, Krejcikova’s title defense ended in the first round when she lost to 97th-ranked Diane Parry. That same week, Krejcikova tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the doubles. But by year’s end, she’d made a fine resurgence, winning two singles titles.
Krejcikova’s excellence in both tennis disciplines makes her both a fan favorite and a formidable, versatile competitor.
“She does everything quite well,” says Tennis Channel analyst Pam Shriver. “She understands transition and how to use all of the court. She’s got quite a good angle game.”
(It’s also interesting to see how frequently Krejcikova will sit in the stands and study matches—yet another rare step for a contemporary pro.)
Then there’s her comfort with pressure. Having for many years been both and a Top 10 singles mainstay and part of the world’s best doubles team alongside Martina Navratilova, Shriver highly values frequent competition.
“People look at doubles as a fun walk in the park,” says Shriver. “But it’s still pressure, including lots of No-Ad points.”
Shriver’s fellow Hall of Famer, 17-time Grand Slam doubles champion Gigi Fernandez, also places a premium on match play. According to Fernandez, “Dealing with getting court time and being motivated to practice during tournaments is hard so having another match is a great way to stay mentally sharp.”
As Krejcikova’s career advances, it will be interesting to see how she balances singles and doubles. When Shriver and Fernandez competed, surfaces were far faster, making it easier to swiftly navigate through both draws, often on the same day. Modern tennis is more physically and mentally demanding in many ways, everything from much slower courts to an increased emphasis on baseline play—even in doubles—extending the length of a great many rallies.
“It’s hard when you have a taste of that much tennis in two events to keep yourself healthy,” says Shriver. “You have to manage it all very smartly.”
Versatile as Krejcikova is, her potential upside as a player is to handle the kind of hard, flat ball that can rush her in baseline exchanges. That was the case in Australia earlier this year, when she was beaten by the crisp-hitting Pegula in the round of 16. At Indian Wells, even on as slow a hardcourt as there is in the world, Krejcikova lost a tight three-setter to the forceful Sabalenka.
Sunday’s opponent in Miami is yet another powerhouse, Madison Keys. These two have only played one another once, Keys beating Krejcikova, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Australian Open.
Following her win over Swiatek in Dubai, Krejcikova shared what motivates her.
“I love challenges,” she said. “When there is somebody that is really tough, I just love to go out there and see where I am, if I can beat this player, if I cannot beat this player. It just gives me extra, extra push.”