Originally Posted by preacherfan
Was Helena hard to get along with? It seems like her partnerships with Mandlikova, Kohde-Kilsch and Novotna all ended with a lot of bad blood. She seemed like a really nice person.
I think a lot of people wonder about that because from most neutral accounts Sukova comes off as a pleasant person. Add to that the fact that she always looked so relaxed on court and it's just hard to imagine that she could be responsible for so much bad blood. But it's important to remember that she was also a competitor and she took doubles very seriously. This sometimes brings out some negativity in a lot of us.
There's always two sides to every story so take this with a grain of salt. In Hana's book she talked about her difficult relationship with the Suk family. She adored Vera Sukova who seemed like a secondary mother figure to her. She detested Cyril Suk the Czech Tennis Federation head. But she says of Helena that she tried to help her early on the tour by asking her to practice with her in Florida before big events.
The first blow up between them that I ever heard of was in 1984 when they were competing together in Boston. Apparently Hana didn't think Helena tried too hard during a semifinal match and chastised her in front of everyone. Because of Fed Cup and the Olympics, they continued to play a couple of times a year through 1987 before Hana's Aussie citizenship came though. But at the US Indoors in 1986 Hana didn't practice with Helena before a match they lost and Helena made an issue of that in a Czech newspaper. Hana said that she practiced with her coach instead and Helena knew that and had started the story because she was a jealous person.
Next, in 1986 the Czechs came up with some sort of bizarre ranking system that not only took a player's singles results and tour ranking into account but also the doubles to compile one ranking for singles and doubles results. This system named Helena the Czech #1 despite the fact that Hana had always been ranked higher than Helena in the tour rankings and at that time Hana had something like a 9-1 series edge between them. This upset Hana and she accused Cyril Suk of trying to embarrass her.
In her book, Hana says that before she made her comeback to the tour in 1989 that she and Helena had a talk that must have cleared the air. I'm not sure how long that lasted. But the highly successful Helena/Jana partnership came to an abrupt end at the Virginia Slims Champ. in 1990. And Helena's coach blames Hana for the break up. However, the only thing that we actually know about this is that it was Helena who called Jana up late one night and told her that she didn't want to be her partner anymore. Helena calls a press conference in Prague to announce the breakup and Hana flies to Prague to defend Jana.
After this, its hard to tell what happened between them. Hana become the Czech Fed Cup coach but I do believe that Helena did play on some of those teams in which she was coach. So maybe there was some sort of makeup between the three.