Czech tennis star Barbora Krejcikova has given an alarming insight into the stresses professional players face during Grand Slams, revealing that she “didn’t even want to step on the court” prior to her fourth-round match against Sloane Stephens.
The world No.33 breezed past Stephens, a former Roland-Garros finalist, with the commanding 6-2 6-0 win booking her a spot in a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.
Following her dominant display, Krejcikova stunned reporters when she revealed the internal struggle she faced prior to the contest.
“I actually really don’t know what happened today, because I just woke up and I just felt really bad,” she said.
“I don’t know why. I just felt really stressed. I don’t know why or what for.”
The 25-year-old explained that she had even locked herself in the physio’s room before her psychologist eventually convinced her to take to the court.
“You know, half an hour before the match, I didn’t even want to step on the court, because I just felt really bad, and I had to lock myself in the physio room and I had to talk to my psychologist. I was actually crying.
“We talked about it a lot, and she told me, ‘If you can overcome this, what you feel right now, it’s going to be a huge win, and it doesn’t matter if you’re going to win on the court or lose on the court, because it’s going to be a personal win’.”
“I was just happy that I started well. I think after the first point things got a little bit better, a little bit easier. Then I broke her. I just felt like yeah, you know, I can play, I can actually play her.
“So I think I was just more stressed that I’m just not going to be good enough. I think that’s what happened.”
Krejcikova’s shocking insight comes at a time where the mental health of tennis players has been a major topic of conversation, following Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the tournament.
A day after being fined for skipping her media obligations, Osaka revealed significant ongoing problems with depression and withdrew from the tournament after playing her first-round match.
Following Osaka’s withdrawal, French Tennis Federation president, Gilles Moretton, touched on the importance of athletes’ well-being at major tournaments.
“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka,” Moretton said in a statement.
“The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi in our tournament next year.
“As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP, and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our tournament, including with the media, like we have always strived to do.”