She is back. Fed Cup player Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (23) has won EMPIRE Slovak Open in 2014 and she is still the only Slovak who was able to do it at this tournament. She is experienced more than enough since that time. She went on Top to became Slovak player of the year 2015, but then she struggled and had to fight for points in the third hundred of WTA ranking. But now she is back in Top 100 and will be one of the favorites for the title in Trnava.
How do you remember your Trnava’s triumph in 2014?
"It was a time go, but it has been a great victory for me. Very important, because it pushed me forward. It was the first major ITF tournament I won. My most valuable title that time. I appreciated this also because such quality girls came there to play. I have the best memories, especially, when I was able to do it at home."
The finale was postponed, you had to play because of rain on Monday. Do you remember this match?
"Yes, Bara (Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova) wanted to play indoor, still on Sunday, because she planned to travel to the next tournament. I knew I have best chances to win on clay, not indoor on hard surface. To be honest, I did not even experience to finish the tournament on different surface. I was glad we had got a chance to finish the game on Monday."
Do you know the score in that final? You won 6-4, 6-2.
"It was an unexpected victory. Bara is a great player, she was ranked high this time. She is one of the best player, I was able to beat yet. I was playing good, I think. But I do not remember all details of that game. All I knew it was the clash with full of emotions and good tennis."
You played with Ukraine Lesia Tsurenko in the semifinal, with Czech Katerina Siniakova in the quarterfinal, against Russian Margarita Gasparyan in the second round and you started with the clash against Czech Renata Voracova.
"All were tough opponents. As I look to the ranking, some of them are still in Top 50. It was very difficult tournament and each victory was great. I remembered the first round and fact that I lost the first set. So, there was a chance I would be out after first game. It was very close game. Also, I remembered the great atmosphere and moments how fans tried to help me. I felt their support."
When the players won the EMPIRE Slovak Open, it has usually helped them. Victory for some of them means another kicked off on their way to next level. It was the case of last year winner Vondrousova or Siniakova or Strycova before.
"It definitely helped me too. There were many points that keep me higher, also the points from Prague tournament. But in the end of the year I had some crisis. But Trnava kicked me off, gave me a lot of self-confidence. Three weeks later, I won in Paris with experienced Venus Williams. It was one of my best moments in my career."
Could you compare EMPIRE Slovak Open to the others 100 000 USD similar tournaments? What do you think about it?
"As far as I know, it’s one of the best. But sometimes it’s hard to compare, when some of competitions are playing in winter and indoor. There are well conditions in Trnava, we played on quality courts. There are for sure some tournaments with worse places and with worse conditions, even WTA. I like Trnava also because the date of the tournament. It is good, and many good players came there once again.”