By Barnaby Chesterman
LIBEREC, Czech Republic (Reuters) – Every New Year, Czech
tennis player Nicole Vaidisova makes a secret resolution.
In 2004, she vowed to break into the top 100 players in the
world rankings. The wish came true, and she ended the year
What the 2005 resolution constituted, the 16-year-old
Vaidisova will not say until the year’s end. She has, however,
already shot to 27th in the world and was a leading light in
the Czech Fed Cup team at the weekend.
“In January I make goals for the next January but I keep it
to myself,” said Vaidisova, a product of the Nick Bollettieri
tennis academy in Florida like 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria
“It’s something I’ve done since I was 10 and I’ve never
told anyone what those goals were and they have always worked
out, so I want to keep doing that.
“Last year I had no ranking and I wanted to reach the top
100 but I got to 72, so I was happy with that.”
Czech Fed Cup captain Thomas Petera believes Vaidisova is
the finest player in her country and a future Grand Slam
“She will definitely be a top-10 player,” said Petera. “She
is definitely the biggest talent we have in this country.
“She hits the ball very hard from the baseline and she can
mix it up if she needs to. I think she can serve at around
Despite Vaidisova’s two straight-sets singles wins in the
Liberec world group one play-off, the Czechs lost 3-2 to Italy.
Vaidisova won her first tournament, the Tier IV Vancouver
event, last year at the age of 15 years three months — a year
younger than Russian Sharapova was when she won her first tour
The win made Vaidisova the sixth youngest singles champion
in history. At the time, she was ranked just 180 in the world
and had had to come through qualifying.
She reached the third round at Wimbledon last month at the
first attempt, matching her third-round appearance at the
Australian Open in January, and she beat former French Open
champion Anastaysia Myskina in Charleston in April as she
reached her first Tier I quarter-final.
The 1.81-meter Vaidisova, coached by her father, backs up a
fearsome serve with booming groundstrokes.
Introduced to tennis by her mother at the age of six,
Vaidisova was also keen on swimming, ballet, gymnastics and
basketball as a child.
At 10 she started attending the Bollettieri school and now
splits her time between Florida and the Czech Republic.
In 2003, she won the Orange Bowl, the unofficial under-16s
Petera thinks life will get harder for Vaidisova now she is
joining the ranks of the grown-ups in an increasing number of
“She has to concentrate on her game because now she will
starting playing much tougher tournaments than she is used to
playing in,” he said.
For the moment, Vaidisova is enjoying her relative
“Where I live (in Florida) it’s kind of like a hip place,
so even if Sharapova walks through the mall no-one recognizes
“In the Czech Republic I don’t play exhibitions or go to
parties so mostly people just read about me in the paper.
Sometimes I get stared at but it’s not like there is a crowd
running behind me.
“It is hard to do everything and sometimes I have to pass
up on normal life. I can’t have a weekend away with friends but
I have a huge opportunity to make something in my tennis life.”