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post #749 of (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2014, 09:33 PM
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Re: Lucie Safarova Cheering Thread - Volume 2

05 February 2014

Safarova confident Czechs can find their feet on clay

Chilly and wet conditions in Seville may yet throw a spanner in Czech Republic’s bid to reach the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas semifinals for a sixth straight year, but one thing that won’t knock the seven-time champion off its stride during this weekend’s first round clash with Spain is the surface. Or so says Lucie Safarova.

Czech Republic hasn’t won a Fed Cup tie on clay in almost seven years. And that, coupled with the fact that Spanish teams are renowned for their prowess on clay, suggests this weekend’s clash could be quite a test for Petr Pala’s team. But world No. 28 Safarova is looking forward to proving her worth on the surface.

“I grew up on clay,” said Safarova. “In Czech Republic we always used to practice on clay so it’s one of my favourite surfaces. Obviously I do also like hard court, and with clay you have to get used to it and it’s a little different, but I do like it.

“For sure it’s going to be a tough tie but I think that our team is very strong. As we have shown in the past we like to play Fed Cup and we are a good team so I think we have a good chance.”

The Czechs last victory on clay came against Slovak Republic in a World Group II clash all the way back in 2007. Should the visitors record a long-awaited win on the surface this weekend, Pala’s team faces the possibility of a repeat of last year’s semifinal against defending champion Italy, who brought an end to Czech hopes of a third straight title with a narrow 3-1 triumph in the last four in Palermo last year.

Czech expectations for the 2014 competition are high, with hopes of another spot in the final again this year. But in spite of last year’s disappointment, Safarova admitted her nation can be very happy with its performance in Fed Cup in recent years.

“We were semis, semis, winning, winning, semis again in the last five years, so I think overall we are doing amazing,” said Safarova. “It’s just not happening every year to get the trophy. Last year, to play Italy on clay in their conditions was really hard. They were really close matches and really high level tennis from both teams and it just didn’t go our way, but I think we can be happy with our results.”

They may be on the road for the second successive tie, but the Czechs can expect plenty of encouragement from back home.

“Fed Cup is really big in our country,” Safarova said. “We have really good support. People come to watch Fed Cups, especially when he had the final in Prague when we had like 14,000 people – the crowd was amazing. That’s the best that an athlete can get to be appreciated and be supported from their fans.”

And is there a rivalry between the Czech Davis and Fed Cup teams now both have won two titles in the last three years?

“We kind of joke about it,” smiled Safarova. “We say – ‘now you are even with us’! Winning the Davis Cup two times is amazing – I think it just shows that our tennis is really very strong. I just hope the next generations will follow.”
And happy birthday from me too !

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