Former world No. 7 Nicole Vaidisova won her first match on the WTA tour in four years at the Miami Open by defeating Timea Babos, 6-1, 7-6 (4). On Friday, she lost to world No. 3 Simona Halep, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.
The 25-year-old began playing again last September on the ITF Pro Circuit. In 2010, Vaidisova said she no longer liked competing and quit the sport. Now the Czech says she was always intending to come back, but wasn't sure when.
"When I stopped I never said I retired [or that] I wasn't ever going to play again," Vaidisova told ESPN.com."I kind of just wanted to step back and take a breath. It's tough when you're younger. On the tennis tour, we all kind of go at 100 percent speed and don't think about things too much. We grow up much faster since as little girls we're so much away from home and traveling. It was good for a while just to stay home and gather my thoughts."
Vaidisova's comeback has ignited interest because of her wild success at a teenager, having reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and French Open as well as the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. The tall, big hitter cracked the Top 10 in May 2007, reaching her high of No. 7 at the age of 17.
She was coached by her stepfather, Ales Kodat, for most of her time on the tour, but eventually replaced him with two notable coaches, David Felgate and Eric van Harpen. She began to slide in 2009, and decided to quit in March 2010. Vaidisova then married ATP player and fellow countryman Radek Stepanek in 2011, but the two divorced in 2013.
"I think I need more matches and more tournaments," Vaidisova said about her comeback. "If I'm able to move forward and be on the tour more, and play more tournaments in a row, then I think I can relook at this. I think I just want to give it my all and have no regrets."