Slovakian tennis is a magical mixture of consistency and mystery. The country has given tennis players such as Mecir, Hrbaty, Klizan, Cibulkova and Hantuchova.

History of tennis development in the country

Slovakia is a very recent tennis nation- before 1993 tennis was played under the Czechoslavakian flag. The nation inherited an already very strong tennis culture with players such as Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna, Milos Mecir and Ivan Lendl leading the way.

Did you know?

Bratislava has its own tennis museum? You can even touch the exhibits, including a signed Novak Djokovic racket.

Famous players

Milos Mecir is one of the most admired players in tennis history. Nicknamed The Big Cat, he was celebrated for his unique, unpredictable style and silky touch. He won the World Championship Tennis (WCT) finals in ‘87 and reached two Major finals. He achieved a career high ranking of No.4.

Mecir was the last man to contest a grand slam playing with a wooden racket, at the 1986 US Open. He lost the final to Ivan Lendl.

Other notable players:

  • Dominika Cibulkova reached the 2014 Australian Open final. She also won the 2016 WTA Year ending championships.
  • Daniela Hantuchova won Indian Wells in 2002 and 2007 and reached the 2008 Australian Open semi-finals.
  • Dominik Hrbaty contested the 1999 French Open semifinals and achieved a career high ranking of 12.
  • Karol Kucera was one of the 1998 Australian Open semifinals and reached a career high ranking of No.6.
  • Karina Habsudova was a junior No.1 and was ranked No.10 in 1997.
  • Martin Klizan has won ATP 500 titles in Rotterdam and Hamburg.

Did you know?

Martina Hingis was born in Kosice, Slovakia. Aged 8, she moved to Switzerland.

Successes of the national teams

Mecir won Olympic Gold in Seoul.

Slovakia has won the Hopman Cup three times. 98, 05, 09.

Tournaments in the country

The Slovak Open is an ATP challenger and ITF circuit tournament held in Bratislava since 2020.

Training system

In the Slovakian tennis system, there are strong links between tennis clubs and elementary schools. The tennis association will provide more support for tennis clubs which have players from local elementary schools.

Coaches and tennis academies

Slovakia’s most famous tennis coach is Marián Vajda who has acted as head coach for Serbia’s Novak Djokovic at different stages in Djokovic’s career. The impact Vajda has is a great one. When Vajda rejoined the Djokovic team in 2018, after a break, Djokovic improved from a ranking of No.13 in the world and losing in Grand Slam quarter finals to being No.1 and winning each of the Grand slams again. Vajda, who was born in Bratislava, won the 2018 ATP coach of the year award.

The Love4Tennis Dominika Cibulkova Academy, which is located in Bratislava, has established itself as not just one of the best tennis academies in the region but in the whole of Europe. Elena Rybakina, who beat Serena Williams on her way to the 2021 French Open quarters, trains there.

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