Hot Stuff: Kristyna Pliskova
I don’t think I have changed my game. I just have someone who trusts in me a lot
All eyes may be focused on world No.3 Karolina, but twin sister Kristyna is also climbing the rankings
Kristyna Pliskova has grown accustomed in recent years to living in the shadow of her twin sister Karolina, but times are changing. Kristyna has been climbing steadily up the world rankings and hopes to maintain her progress through the course of 2017.
“I have a small goal this season, which is to be in the top 20,” she said. “I don’t see it as a big step, but it is a step. We will see.”
The Czech twins were both successful junior players, but, so far, Karolina has been much more successful in the senior game. She finished in the world’s top 100 for the first time in 2013 and has improved her year-end ranking at the end of every subsequent season. After this year’s Australian Open Karolina climbed to a career-high position at No.3 in the rankings.
This article originally appeared in tennishead March 2017 digital edition. For more great features, in-depth gear reviews and stunning images download our free app now via the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Store.
Kristyna’s progress in the senior game has been slower, but the last 12 months have been encouraging. At this time last year she was still ranked outside the top 100, but she finished 2016 at No.61 and has started the new season well. In the first two months of this year she claimed the scalps of four higher-ranked players in Anastasija Sevastova, Irina Camelia-Begu, Roberta Vinci, and most recently, Daria Kasatkina in Indian Wells. Kristyna Pliskova broke into the world’s top 100 in September last year.
After last year’s US Open Kristyna teamed up with a new coach, Martin Fassati, who had been working with another Czech player, Petra Cetkovska, but became available, on a short-term basis at least, when Cetkovska suffered a long-term injury.
“I asked him if we could go to Asia for a few tournaments and he said ‘yes’ because Petra was still not ready,” Kristyna said. “We went and I won two out of three tournaments, so it was good. Petra is still not playing. I don’t know when she is going to start. He promised her that he will wait [for her], but until then I have him.”
She added: “I don’t think I have changed my game. I just have someone who trusts in me a lot. We have just changed small things. I still have the same game that I have always had. We just work on my head, to be mentally strong. I think that is the key to what has changed in me.”
Winning those two tournaments in China and Uzbekistan last autumn did much for Pliskova’s confidence. “I played a lot of tough matches,” she said. “I won so many good matches. It’s much better for your head. That’s the key."
In the first tournament in Dalian, Pliskova came through a gruelling first-round match against Kai-Chen Chang and did not drop a set thereafter en route to the final. She won the title after Japan’s Misa Eguchi retired in the third set of the final.
Pliskova’s victory in Tashkent followed a similar pattern. Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo proved a tough opponent in the first round and Japan’s Nao Hibino took her to three sets in the final.
While her sister has followed quite a different schedule over the last couple of years, playing in nearly all the biggest tournaments, Kristyna says that she and Karolina have remained very close.
“We spent Christmas together with our boyfriends, all four of us in Prague,” Kristyna said. “We talk all the time. We don’t play that many of the same tournaments, maybe the Slams, Indian Wells, Miami. Last year we played two tournaments in Prague. I think it is better that we don't play the same tournaments every week!”
Born: Louny, Czech Republic
Lives: Prague, Czech Republic
Turned pro: 2009
Ranking best: No.52
WTA titles: 1
ITF titles: 10