17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova pulled off an emphatic 6-4, 6-3 victory in Chennai on Friday to dispatch yet another seed in Varvara Gracheva. Despite trailing 0-3 in the second set, the Czech prodigy displayed exquisite shot-making to regain control of the match.
To honor her sensational rise in the rankings in the past year and her ever-improving performances at the 2022 Chennai Open, the tournament decorated Fruhvirtova with the Margaret Amritraj Award for the most promising young player. The award is named after TNTA president Vijay Amritraj’s late mother, Margaret Amritraj.
Here are some excerpts from Fruhvirtova’s post-match press conference:
Q: Indian tournaments have been a curtain-raiser of sorts for multiple successful careers of players such as Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu. Having reached the semifinals in Chennai now, is that something you now believe for yourself as well?
Fruhvirtova: Definitely winning Grand Slams is where I want to be one day in my career. This is what I’m working for, to be the best in what I do so I hope I can do it one day.
Q: Can you talk about the influx of several young Czech talents on the women’s tour?
Fruhvirtova: I think tennis is a big tradition in Czech Republic. It’s a top 3 sport for sure. I think we’re very motivated.
Q: What were some of your key takeaways from the match?
Fruhvirtova: She has some great shots. But I think my energy went a little bit down at the beginning of the second set. But 0-3 was just one break. I think it was very important that I was able to get to 1-3 and not go 0-4 down. That was a pretty close game and I just kept going. I got my energy back.
Q: Can you talk about Roger Federer announcing his retirement and whether you looked up to him from the big 3?
Fruhvirtova: When my sister and I were younger we always looked up to Serena and Roger. They were like GOATs for us. Of course the day had to come. We wish it wouldn’t but I think what they achieved is unbelievable and almost impossible to do again. Everyone is saying it’s the end of an era, but the day probably had to come. The generations are changing now, new players like Alcaraz. So now is the time for the generation change.
I was lucky enough to meet both Serena and Roger and they’re both very nice. They’re not cocky, I respect them so much.
Q: What were some of your goals for the season that you feel you have accomplished now?
Fruhvirtova: I’m still pretty young to set a goal like Top 50, top 60. I’m still kind of still developing physically, mentally in my game. My main goal was to improve as much as I can. This was my first full year on the tour. Just to get more experience and get more matches. These are the matches I needed and I still need. But yeah Grand Slam main draw is where all the players want to be. I qualified for the US Open main draw so why not be there next year as well?
Q: Can you give your thoughts on receiving the Margaret Amritraj Award?
Fruhvirtova: It’s a great honor and I appreciate it very much. They believe in me and that I can do it and it’s a great honor.