Vaidisova Makes Her Mark Down Under By Adrianna Outlaw
Nicole Vaidisova made a memorable Australian Open debut and continues to craft a junior career that makes her a player opponents will not forget. The 14-year-old Czech, who has trained at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy since she was 11, was both a singles and doubles finalist at the Australian Open junior championships last month.
In the 18-and-under singles event, which consisted of the best 64 players from around the world, the third-seeded Vaidisova fell to 16-year-old Shahar Peer of Israel, 6-1, 6-4. In the doubles final, Vaidisova and fellow Czech, Veronkia Chvojkova suffered a 7-5, 6-3 setback to Sheng-Nan Sun of China and Yung Jan Chang of Taipei.
Her performance at the Australian Open followed a breakthrough at the Orange Bowl in December when the blonde baseliner became the youngest 18-and-under champion since Anna Kournikova also, a Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy alum. Vaidisova concluded the 2003 season ranked No. 8 in the International Tennis Federation's Girls' 18s rankings.
She began playing at the age of five and cites Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters as her favorite players and aspires to follow in their footsteps as a future No. 1. Asked her ultimate aspirations in tennis, Vaidisova replied: "To become No. 1 in the world after winning Wimbledon."
While she has a long way to go before attaining those lofty ambitions, Vaidisova is close to completing an endorsement contract with Reebok, according to a published report in the SportsBusiness Journal written by Liz Mullen. The SportsBusiness Journal reports Reebook's senior director of global marketing Dianne Hayes, who was the key figure in the company's signing of Venus Williams and Andy Roddick, will personally handle Vaidisova's long-term Reebok deal. IMG represents Vaidisova, who will be featured in a future episode of The Tennis Channel's "No Strings" program.
"Nicole is growing, growing, growing," Bollettieri said. "It is very important that she keeps working hard physically and mentally as well as on her serve and volley technique, if she and her father want her to develop into a more aggressive player. But be patient, a serve and volley game takes time to develop. I, along with my entire staff, am very proud of her accomplishments."