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A glimpse of the future in New York as Linda Fruhvirtova puts new sister act on the map
Remember the name, the tournament and the year. The 2022 US Open marks the beginning of the Fruhvirtova sisters’ foray into Grand Slam tennis
The 2022 US Open could very well mark the end of the era of the Williams sisters in New York.
It could also mark the beginning of the rise of the Fruhvirtova sisters on the Grand Slam scene. Of course there might never be another Venus and Serena, but Linda and Brenda has a nice ring to it, also.
Linda Fruhvirtova, older sister of rapidly rising Brenda, has pushed through qualifying and notched her first career main draw win at the majors, defeating China’s Wang Xinyu, 6-3, 6-4, on Court 9 on Tuesday.
“Of course it feels amazing, and these are the matches you work hard for, these results,” Fruhvirtova told Tennis Majors. “So I’m really happy that I could get another win here.”
The 167th-ranked Czech teen will experience a significantly larger venue on Thursday as she faces two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, the No 9 seed, in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Win or lose, Fruhvirtova has already demonstrated that she has what it takes to emerge as a potential force on the tour. A clear sign that she’s cut out for the pro game is the fact that she has already registered six top-100 wins in just over a year on tour.
“I just want to improve every aspect of my game” – Linda Fruhvirtova
Fruhvirtova, who’s supported by ChampSeed, the foundation based at the Mouratoglou Academy, won her first WTA-level match as a 15-year-old at Charleston, defeating Alize Cornet. She reached the round of 16 at Miami this spring, raising eyebrows with wins over two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, Elise Mertens and Danka Kovinic and becoming the youngest player to reach the round of 16 at Miami since 2004.
“I’m definitely happy,” she said of her progress. “It’s my first year playing only on the women’s tour, so I’m still like pretty new to this, but I’m enjoying it and I just want to improve as much as I can and just improve every aspect of my game, on and off the court, and yes, just improving and kind of like growing up with my tennis.”
The talented Czech knows that the level is high on the WTA Tour, but believes she has the game to match up with the top talents on tour, even if she can still be a little starstruck by the stars of the tour.
“I see there the players I’ve always watched on TV, so that’s nice,” she says, adding: “I feel like I have the level to win these matches, and to play on this level, so I just have to show it.”
Emma Raducanu’s blueprint – why not me?
Last year 18-year-old Emma Raducanu shook the US Open to its core, winning the US Open title as a qualifier. A qualifier herself in 2022, Fruhvirtova believes that the British star has set an example that she can follow:
“Of course you say to yourself: ‘She did it, why can’t I? Why can’t it happen again?'” she said. “Of course it was exceptional what Raducanu did last year, but you never know so I just go out there and try my best and see what happens.”
Though Fruhvirtova recognises that she has a long way to go and much experience to pick up, that doesn’t stop her from believing that she will one day be at the top of the table on the WTA Tour.
“I’ve been saying this since I was 12, that I want to win Grand Slams and that I want to be No 1. I would really like to get Olympic gold, too.”
Mouratoglou – she’s a mental fortress
Having trained both sisters at his academy, Patrick Mouratoglou, knows the sisters well. Earlier this year, when Fruhvirtova wreaked havoc on the Miami draw, he said it is the Czech’s mentality and aggressive nature that sets her apart.
“A lot of players say they want to become world No 1 but only some players believe it deep inside and Linda is one of them. She wins because she’s just stepping in,, stepping in, hitting, hitting, hitting until you crack. She has one main quality, which is the mental side. She’s an incredible competitor. She’s an incredible fighter.
“I think mentally she has the full package.”
“She’s going to be here next year” – younger sister Brenda, 15, surging on ITF Tour
Currently the fifth-ranked junior in the world, and 233 on the WTA Tour, Linda’s younger sister Brenda is having an incredible year on the ITF Circuit. She began the season outside the top-1000 but has climbed over 800 spots, while cracking many milestones along the way.
She qualified for a 250-level event in Guadalajara in February to become the youngest player to play a WTA main draw since 2009. Playing mostly 25K events on the ITF Tour, Linda’s younger sister has amassed a 36-5 record, including her last 20 in succession, and a record of 6-0 in finals.
“I’m so happy for her, she’s crushing the opponents now and I really believe that she’s going to be here next year,” Fruhvirtova said of her kid sister. “Also, she’s really young and she’s really good. She’s working hard and she’s improving and I don’t think the 25Ks are her level anymore and she can definitely play a great level of tennis. She can face tough opponents, so I’m just excited to be with her in these kinds of tournaments in the future.”
Muguruza struggling in 2022
Whether Fruhvirtova can get the better of Muguruza on Thursday is another matter. The Spaniard is a two-time major winner, having triumphed at the French Open and Wimbledon.
However, she’s had a poor year, struggling for fitness and form, having won just two matches since May, before emerging victorious from her first-round win at the US Open.
“This is a year where I’m feeling the toll of many years on tour,” she said. “But I’m going through it, trying to have a smile and knowing that I have had great years. This might not be the best year of my career, but still here and still competing.”