For years, Barbora Krejcikova shined brightest so long as someone else was by her side. In 2021, she stepped out of the shadows and enjoyed greater success than ever before, evolving from also-ran to eloquent elder stateswoman in less than 12 months.
Long the lesser-known partner of doubles No. 1 Katerina Siniakova—herself a capable singles player who scored a win over Serena Williams this season—Krejcikova battled against becoming a doubles specialist, managing a near-impossible schedule that took her from major trophy ceremonies with Siniakova to far-flung ITF Pro Circuit tournaments on a weekly basis.
The global pandemic presented the Czech an opportunity to make one last push. She opted against a 2020 US Open appearance to play a series of smaller events at home before Roland Garros. Making just her second major main draw appearance, she battled into the second week.
“I've been trying to break into the Top 100 for so long,” she recalled in Paris last fall. “Every time I was really close, I couldn't really make it, so this time we got the stop, we got the break. I think I was No. 116 or something. Then I was like, ‘Okay, now is the time to break it.
“Coming to this tournament I tried to change my mind with this. I was just like, ‘Okay, maybe I will never make it. Maybe I'm just going to be just a doubles player, okay? It's fine.’ I kind of like realized it, I was okay with that. I just went here, I just wanted to play every single match.”