Nice article on the Pliskovas.
Telling Identical Twins Apart by First-Round Results at Wimbledon
By DAVE SEMINARA
Published: June 25, 2013
WIMBLEDON, England — Kristyna has blond hair, a Maori-style tattoo, and likes Paulo Coelho novels. Karolina is more blonde, has two Maori-style tattoos and prefers Nicholas Sparks. A 6-foot left-hander, Kristyna won the junior singles title here; Karolina, a 6-1 right-hander, claimed the same prize at the Australian Open.
Tom Hevezi/European Pressphoto Agency
Karolina Pliskova, above, defeated 13th-seeded Nadia Petrova on Tuesday at Wimbledon.
Glyn Kirk/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Her twin, Kristyna, failed to advance.
Kristyna is two minutes older, but Karolina’s name pops up first in a Google search of their surname. Karolina has a higher ranking, but Kristyna won their most recent match. They stay in the same hotel room on the road, often sharing a bed when necessary, but please, try not to mix them up.
The Pliskova sisters are 21-year-old identical twins from the Czech Republic who were in the same section of the draw this week, two weeks after they faced each other for the first time on the WTA tour at a tournament in Eastbourne.
Asked to cite examples of how she is different from her twin, Kristyna searched for an answer but stalled for time.
“Differences?” she repeated, and then after a long pause concluded: “I don’t really know. We are a lot alike.”
But Karolina, who said her sister called her the boss for no good reason, batted the question aside as if she had fielded it 1,000 times, which she probably has.
“There are a lot of differences,” she said. “The tattoos, the hair. I’m a little taller, she’s lefty and I’m righty. On the court, it’s easy to tell us apart. Off the court, well, you have to figure it out.”
Kristyna said they were just like ordinary sisters. They share clothes, they fight, and they rely on each other. They also like to throw their rackets.
“I think I have the advantage in smashing more rackets though,” Kristyna said.
And they sometimes pass love interests off on each other. Once, when they were teenagers, the twins decided that they preferred each other’s boyfriends, so they agreed to swap.
They both have new boyfriends, and there is no talk of a trade, but Kristyna said she used to try to pawn off unwanted suitors on her sister, who rarely took the bait.
On the court, their fortunes have also largely risen and fallen together. Kristyna said she was the stronger player until they were about 15, when Karolina started to overtake her. They both turned professional in 2009; Karolina won the Australian Open junior event in 2010, and Kristyna won the girls singles at junior Wimbledon in 2011. Karolina’s was always a bit higher until Kristyna briefly nudged ahead at the end of last year.
Karolina, now No. 77, regained the advantage this year, slipping inside the top 100 for the first time, only for Kristyna, ranked No. 102, to win their first WTA matchup in June at Eastbourne, 7-6 (5) 3-6 6-3.
Bob and Mike Bryan are tennis’s most famous twins, but the last prominent set of identical twins playing singles on the pro tour was Tom and Tim Gullikson[/url], who met four times in the ’70s and ’80s. Tom is the lead national coach for the United States Tennis Association and is at Wimbledon this week coaching Denis Kudla and other American players.
“There’s no secrets when you play a twin,” he said while watching Kudla win his first-round match on Court 5. “You can read each other’s minds, predict their tendencies, but they can predict yours as well.”
Kristyna took the same court wearing a visor with her hair in a neat bun and a wristband just below the tattoo on her left forearm. She raced out to a 3-0 lead, blasting big looping forehand winners to every corner of the court. But her Slovakian opponent, Jana Cepelova, quickly found her game, reeling off 12 of the match’s final 14 games to usher Kristyna out of the tournament, 6-4, 6-1.
Pliskova looked resigned as she trudged off court but later joked with reporters that she resisted the urge to throw her racket because she “didn’t want to break the grass.”
A few hours after the loss, she was out on Court 12, supporting her sister as she squared off against Nadia Petrova, the No. 13 seed. Karolina’s powerful serve and big looping forehand looked similar, but she was playing with more confidence, and after taking the first set 6-3 Karolina iced the match by breaking serve at 2-2 with a deft backhand drop shot that looked eerily similar to the ones her sister was dropping over the net just hours before.
Petrova looked oddly unglued as Pliskova essentially blew her off the court, hitting 32 winners against only 6 unforced errors. But as Pliskova finished a surprisingly routine, there was barely even a fist pump, let alone a celebration.
“I’m a bit sad for my sister, so I didn’t want to jump up and down,” she said after the biggest win of her career. “It’s hard when one wins and one loses. If we both won, we could celebrate.”
A version of this article appeared in print on June 26, 2013, on page B15 of the New York edition with the headline: Telling Identical Twins Apart by First-Round Results.