Just before the Christmas I had the opportunity to attend and photograph three races (women’s sprint on Friday and both men’s and women’s pursuit on Saturday) of the third edition of 2016/2017 IBU Biathlon World Cup in Nove Mesto Na Morave. Vysocina Arena became the true heart of biathlon world with the total attendance of more than 130 000 spectators. Martin Fourcade dominated all three races among men. Women’s races saw three different winners – Tatiana Akimova (sprint), Anais Chevalier (pursuit) and Gabriela Koukalova (mass start).
On November 16th I attended the Tennis Player of the Year 2016 in Slovakia Gala, held in National Tennis Center in Bratislava. The main star of the evening was Dominika Cibulkova, winner of three WTA Tour titles, as well as the year-end WTA Finals in Singapore. She claimed both Best Female Tennis Player of the Year and Most Popular Tennis Player of the Year awards. Tereza Mihalikova and Lukas Klein were named Best Junior Players of the Year. Romana Cisovska was chosen as the Best Upcoming Player of the Year. Women’s Fed Cup Team was chosen as the Best Tennis Team of the Year, despite the fact it failed to advance from the Fed Cup World Gropu 2. Coach Lubomir Kurhajec was inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame in Slovakia. Martin Klizan, who was selected as the Best Male Tennis Player of the Year 2016 did not attend the ceremony.
In mid November I attended the 9th edition of Tennis Chamipons Exhibition in Bratislava. This year’s line-up consisted of WTA Champion from Singapore Dominika Cibulkova, Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic, Czech and Slovak Davis Cup heroes Radek Stepanek and Dominik Hrbaty, as well as first class tennis entertainers Yannick Noah and Mansour Bahrami. Some of my photos from the event appeared in the articles on WTA Tennis.com and Tennis.com.
In late October 2016, I had the opportunity to spend two days at ATP 500 Erste Bank Open Tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria. This tournament had a total financial commitment of 2,4 million EUR and the players had a chance to add up to 500 points to their ranking. The line up included world no. 2 Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Austrian rising super star Dominic Thiem, as well as the veterans David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and John Isner. The lighting in Wiener Stadthalle was difficult to work with, producing a strong yellow cast. Nevertheless, I was happy for the opportunity, as it was my first time shooting professional tennis outside of Slovakia in 9 years.