Modest star Krejcikova learns to live with success
A year ago, Barbora Krejcikova got a wild card to play at the Prague Open, wondering whether she would make the main draw of the postponed French Open a month later.
These days, the fresh French Open champion is seeded as the Prague Open's number two with all the perks that come with the honours.
"It's different, it's special, it's very nice to get this reward for success," the 25-year-old Czech told reporters in Prague.
"But you know, it's not really fair towards the other players," she added, clutching a bouquet of blue roses, a present from the organisers.
"It's not really my cup of tea. I guess I'm the modest type."
Krejcikova said her rise to stardom may have begun at last year's Prague Open where she "gained lots of experience" in a three-set loss to Simona Halep last August.
"I learnt that I could play level with the best, maybe it was one of the turning points," Krejcikova said before taking on Bulgarian world number 211 Isabella Shinikova in the first round of the Prague Open.
"But if you had told me I would win the French Open in a year, I would probably have hugged you and said, no, thank you, I'm not that good," added Krejcikova.
Most of her singles appearances last year came at ITF tournaments and WTA tournament qualifications, and the Prague Open wild card made her so happy that she bought a bottle for the tournament director.
Krejcikova had won two doubles Grand Slam titles with compatriot Katerina Siniakova, but she only made a mark as a singles player when the clay season started this year.
She won the Strasbourg tournament in May and then lifted both the singles and doubles trophies at the French Open last month.
Krejcikova went to Wimbledon as the 14th seed, bowing out in the last-16 phase at the hands of later champion Ashleigh Barty, following a streak of 15 singles wins.
"It was the first time I was in the main draw and I think I did pretty well," said Krejcikova, who enjoyed special treatment as a Grand Slam champion at the All England Club.
"I could feel it, it was nice, but it doesn't change anything for me, I still want to work hard and keep improving," she said.
Krejcikova added she had not yet come to terms with her new status.
"I still think it's not happening, when I get up in the morning, I still ask myself if it's true," said the world number 13 for singles and 2 for doubles.
"Maybe it will really only dawn on me after my career," added Krejcikova, who has not even found the time to reward herself amid the packed calendar.
Krejcikova's next stop is the Tokyo Olympics, where she will play the singles as well as doubles with Siniakova.
She said she was in an "Olympic mood" after getting the blue and white Olympic costume inspired by her native region of Moravia in the east of the Czech Republic.
"I'm really looking forward to the opening ceremony. I've tried everything on and it all fits."