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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Barbora Krejcikova wins "Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen" - Roland Garros 2021

Novak Djokovic will be looking to win a 19th Grand Slam title and a second Coupe des Mousquetaires when he takes on first-time major finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2021 French Open men’s final. Will the world No 1’s experience trump the Greek’s youthful exuberance at Roland Garros this evening ?

The French Open (Internationaux de France de Tennis), also known as Roland Garros is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France, beginning in late May each year.  The tournament and venue are named after the French aviator Roland Garros. The French Open is the premier clay court tennis championship tournament in the world.  

Yesterday, it was heartening to see the former powerstar ‘Martina Navratilova’ awarding the trophy to the winner- Barbora Krejcikova.  The  Czech-American former professional tennis player and coach was considered almost indefeatable during her play days, when we watched the game.  Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women's doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles, for a combined total of 59 major titles, marking the Open Era record for the most Grand Slam titles won by a single player.

The Lenglen–Dewhurst match at the 1926 Wimbledon Championships was a second-round match between French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen and British Ceylonese tennis player Evelyn Dewhurst at the 1926 Wimbledon Championships, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Lenglen, a six-time Wimbledon singles champion who was undefeated in singles at the tournament, defeated Dewhurst in straight sets for the last competitive win of her amateur career. The match had been rescheduled three times. Lenglen withdrew from the tournament following the match and also forfeited her amateur status a month after the tournament to become a professional tennis player.

The match was enshrouded in controversy after it needed to be rescheduled to accommodate the British royal family.  Lenglen's fallout with Queen Mary and  the British crowd was one of the underlying factors in her leaving amateur tennis.


Pic credit : By Agence de presse Meurisse - Bibliothèque nationale de France, Public Domain,

At Roland Garros 2021, it was Barbora Krejcikova all the way.  Outside the top 100 only nine months ago, the Czech’s 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova capped a magical run and a fitting tribute to the former Wimbledon champion. “I'm extremely happy. It's a dream come true, for sure,” Krejcikova said. “I'm just really happy that I was able to handle it as I did, that mentally I think that was the biggest key. “I spoke with my psychologist again and we spoke about it a lot. I just knew that as soon as I'm going to enter the court, I'm just not going to be panicking anymore. That was actually happening… I mean, it's something I have always dreamed about, winning here – my first doubles title, then some [other Grand Slam] doubles title, then winning the mixed ones.

In what was only her fifth Grand Slam singles main draw, the 25-year-old Czech said she already felt right at home on the biggest stadiums, as a result of those two majors in doubles and three in mixed doubles. Her opponent, Pavlyuchenkova, had reached six major quarter-finals before and was appearing in her 52nd Grand Slam main draw, but her superior experience on the singles arena ultimately had no definitive influence on the result.

A new women's singles major champion was assured for the sixth year in succession on Court Philippe-Chatrier and even after three match points had slipped her grasp, Krejcikova never felt alone as she became the first Czech Roland-Garros winner since Hana Mandlikova 40 years ago.  She vowed her pragmatic approach to life on and off the court would not change a scrap in the aftermath. It was an outlook of which she knew the similarly down-to-earth Novotna would be proud. Novotna – a former Wimbledon champion – succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2017, three years after she agreed to come on board as coach. “She wasn't acting like she won so many titles, that she's somebody special. She's always acting like a normal person… She always told me like, ‘Doesn't matter how many titles you're going to win, you always have to come and say hello, please, and thank you. It's very important to behave very nice'.

After that handsome win - Barbora Krejcikova received Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen from  Czech-born legend, Martina Navratilova, who said - “I knew she was a champion, she has a lot of courage, because in 2014 when you found out that Jana moved back to Brno you had the courage to go knock on her door and ask her for help,” Navratilova said on court. “What made you think it was OK to do that? What gave you that courage?” “My mum,” Krejcikova quipped. Now, Krejcikova has the opportunity to replicate what Frenchwoman Mary Pierce achieved in 2000, winning both singles and doubles in the same year at Roland-Garros. Krejickova will find out on Sunday, when she teams up with compatriot Katerina Siniakova to face Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands for the trophy.

The Suzanne-Lenglen cup is awarded to the women’s singles champion since 1979 and bears the name of an emblematic French champion. Suzanne Lenglen (1899-1938) won Roland-Garros six times. Her modern style, elegance and flair were what inspired the Musketeers.  The trophy is almost identical, minus a few details, to the cup offered at the time by the City of Nice to Suzanne Lenglen, and which is housed in the National Sports Museum.

Suzanne Rachel Flore Lenglen (1899 – 1938) was a French tennis player. She was ranked as the inaugural world No. 1 from 1921 to 1926, winning 8 Grand Slam singles titles and 21 in total, as well as 10 World Championship titles. She won six Wimbledon singles titles, including five in a row from 1919 to 1923, and also won triple crowns at the first two open French Championships in 1925 and 1926. In doubles, she was undefeated with her regular partner Elizabeth Ryan, highlighted by another six titles at Wimbledon. Because of her immense popularity and prominent social acquaintances, Lenglen is recognised as the first female athlete to become a global sport celebrity. She was also the first leading amateur to turn professional, and was ranked as the greatest women's tennis player from the amateur era in the 100 Greatest of All Time series.  That rescheduling of match in Wimbledon 1926 – her  fallout with Queen Mary and  the British crowd were the underlying factors in her leaving amateur tennis.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th June 2021 

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