Falling in love with the game
My father is a tennis coach. So, growing up I watched him play a lot of tennis and as a four year-old, I wanted to do the same thing as my Dad. To be like him. Both my parents were my idols.
My motivation to keep playing has always been the opportunity to compete with the world’s best players and to try to win big tournaments. It was always my dream to play against the best in the world. I’m honoured to have fulfilled that career ambition and have the chance to beat the top players every week.
If you’re in good shape physically, it’s easier to be in good shape mentally too. Usually when you’re physically exhausted, your brain gets weak too. But to be a champion, you need a special mental strength. The best players are always physically very strong, but they can also play above their limits when it matters and that’s the difference. At the end, it’s mainly about the head.
Roger Federer has always been my inspiration. Of course, I love the way he plays tennis, but I also have huge respect for his behaviour, the way he manages his life. He’s a normal, friendly guy, with a great balance between tennis and family life. Having a big family must give you so much positive energy.
Czech RepublicCOUNTRY OF BIRTH
202 LBSWEIGHT (92 KG)
6'5"HEIGHT (198 CM)
MY BEST SO FAR
So far, my biggest highlight has been winning my first ATP title in Auckland, New Zealand in 2015. Then of course, the opportunity to play in the fourth round of Wimbledon, against my countryman and idol Tomas Berdych. That was just incredible. The atmosphere was amazing. I was also very proud to win a junior Grand Slam in 2011 and keep the world number one U18 spot for all 52 consecutive weeks.
My drive is to achieve big things. Being as good as I can be makes me feel satisfied. It’s is not a lifelong job, so I say I want to do it as best as I can, so I don’t have any regrets when it’s all over. And there’s so much I still want to achieve. My biggest tip for getting there is to give your best all the time. In tennis, everything can turn around with two or three points. So just keep giving everything.
My ultimate goal is to win a Grand Slam, win as many tournaments as possible and to be at the top of the ranking.
For me, a good tennis match is when I hit good shots, when my opponent and I are both pushing our limits. Trying to work each other off the court. I love big battles, of course it’s much nicer to finish as the winner. But overall when I play really well and my opponent beats me, I look at myself and my tactics. A good match always motivates me to work harder.
Day in. Day out.
Practice days start around 8:45am and finish around 6:00pm. I usually wake up around 6:00–6:30am, go out with my little dog Leo, then have breakfast and go to the tennis centre. In the morning, I warm up for around 45–60 minutes. Then I have my first tennis practice for 1.5–2 hours. After that I go have lunch, take a short sleep for 20–30 minutes then go back to the club for the afternoon session. Again 1.5–2 hours of practice matches, then I go to the gym for 1.5 hours, then I always go for a massage.
I can’t say I love the travelling part of my life. Sometimes it’s really too much and I get tired. But its part of our job and you have to look on the bright side. I get to see new places around the world, so I try to make the most of wherever I am and go to look around the city. I love all the tournaments in Australia and New Zealand. The people are just very friendly. Everything is so clean and organised there. If I had to pick one, I’d choose Auckland of course. Because of my happy memories of my victory there.
It’s important to be optimistic. In life I want to enjoy things. I think we’re too short on this earth to not enjoy things. So I always try to do things, my girlfriend or I love. I’m really appreciative of what tennis gives me.
But of course, there are disappointments. After a bad tennis day, I get away from the court as fast as possible. Usually I head straight to the Golf club. It’s a chance to clear my head and have four hours for myself, away from tennis. Plus, hitting a good shot in golf makes me feel good and helps put me back in a positive mood.
I love competing, so I love to play soccer, ice-hockey, squash, badminton, anything where I’m competing against someone.
To relax, I love watching golf. Because I play, I know how hard it is, so it’s amazing to see the pros playing such accurate shots. I also enjoy architecture and relaxing with my friends.
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