21 Oct 2017

Sedlackova lives up to pedigree in Women's 65s

News Article

By Harvey Fialkov

Photo: Manuela DaviesJana Sedlackova (CZE)

Anyone who owns a victory over tennis legend Martina Navratilova, albeit in a one-set exhibition, has to be a force to be reckoned with.

Jana Sedlackova, an alternate on the Czech Republic Fed Cup team in 1975, played and actually defeated Navratilova in 1974 when she was 21 years old and an aspiring professional.

“It was at an opening of a tennis club in Prague. I was good friends with Martina’s family, her mother and sister, Jana, as well. I beat her in the one set we played,’’ smiled Sedlackova, 65, and competing in her first year of the Super-Seniors 65s’ division.

“It was the year before Martina [defected] to America. When Martina returned [30] years later, she was at an ITF tournament I was at.

“I approached her and asked if she remembered me. She said my name before I introduced myself. It was very nice.’’

What was even nicer for Sedlackova was winning her first Super-Seniors World Individual Championships title Friday with a 60 62 victory over the top-seeded Nora Blom of the Netherlands at a windy USTA National Campus Friday. Sedlackova will take a gold medal and $800 back to Prague, while the runner-up receives $600 and a bronze.

“It’s very exciting because I’ve lost to her several times,’’ said Sedlackova, now 2-3 against Blom, including both meetings in 2017, in which she has improved to 21-0.

“She’s very smart and knows all the angles, every corner on the court. I’m playing very well now.’’

Sedlackova dreamed of playing on the professional circuit as a top teen junior growing up in a then communist Czechoslovakia, however marriage to Peter, and a ruptured Achilles tendon altered her career path.

Blom, 66, winner of three World Championships singles titles and defending champion in this division, said fatigue and eye issues affected her play. But she gave full credit to her powerful opponent, who mixed in a blend of huge forehands and delicate sliced backhands.

“Even if I guessed right the ball went past me,’’ said Blom, a retired maths teacher. “She’s better now than ever.’’

So far, Navratliova, who has won a combined 59 major titles, hasn’t asked Sedlackova for a rematch.

Krocke wins fifth World singles title

Ellie Krocke has faced some of the greatest players in tennis history, so experience is certainly on her side in decisive third sets of major finals.

On a windy Friday afternoon at the USTA National Campus, Krocke, a former Tour player, who has played in several Grand Slam events, prevailed 26 63 63 over Sylvie Galfard-Kirsten, the second-seed from France, in the finals of the Super-Seniors World Individual Championships.

It was Krocke’s fifth World singles title and second in the 70s.

“I’ve lost the last two finals to Gail Benedetti, the last one 76 in the third,’’ said Krocke, 73, of the Netherlands. “[Thankfully], she’s not here.’’

Benedetti is nursing a knee injury. Krocke is now 4-4 against Galfard-Kirsten.

“I started playing when I was 15 and then I got a sponsor. By 18, I was playing at Wimbledon. I moved to South Africa to raise a family and came back to play the Seniors in my 40s,’’ Krocke said. “I enjoy travelling and having a wonderful time seeing everyone and keeping fit. It’s fantastic.’’