The 10th edition of Empire Slovak Open 2018 took place from May 12th to May 20th 2018. For the first time, I shot this largest women’s tennis tournament in Slovakia as the official tournament photographer. Viktoria Kuzmova became the second Slovak player in tournament history to win the title. She beat Veronica Cepede-Royg of Paraguay in three sets. Other notable players in the main draw were Andrea Petkovic and two time Grand Slam finalist Vera Zvonareva. The schedule was very demanding, as two full days had to be cancelled because of the rain.
On February 10. – 11. Team Slovakia played the Fed Cup 2018 World Group II tie against Team Russia. In the battle of young and upcoming players, Team Slovakia managed to win against Team Russia for the first time in 25 years in tennis team competitions. Viktoria Kuzmova made her debut in Team Slovakia, playing two rubbers. On Sunday, she recorded her first Fed Cup victory and secured the historic win for her team.
Team Slovakia: Magdalena Rybarikova, Viktoria Kuzmova, Jana Cepelova, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
Team Russia: Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Anna Kalinskaya, Anastasia Potapova, Veronika Kudermetova.
The 10th edition of Tennis Champions Exhibition was dedicated to Daniela Hantuchova, who announced her retirement from professional tennis earlier this year. Her three guests were Kim Clijsters, Tommy Haas and Slovak Davis Cup hero Dominik Hrbaty. Additional guests included winning Slovak Fed Cup Team of 2002, various hockey players, Daniela’s colleagues from Slovak edition of Dancing with the Stars and Daniela’s childhood hero Miloslav Mecir. The sold out arena also saw very special appearance of the President of Slovakia Andrej Kiska.
In mid-August 2017, Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic joined the ranks of Empire Tennis Academy in Trnava, Slovakia. Belinda is working hard on the return to professional tennis after the left wrist surgery in May 2017. After the short meeting with the press, she shared a few laughs on court with her friend Tereza Mihalikova. Afterwards we strolled around Trnava’s historic center to make some off court, leisure time photos.