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Fed Cup 2018 – Slovakia : Russia

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.

Belinda Bencic joins Empire Tennis Academy Trnava

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.

Empire Slovak Open 2017

Empire Slovak Open 2017

Empire Slovak Open 2017 – the largest women’s tennis tournament is Slovakia saw some amazing battles. This ITF Event with the prize money of 100 000 dollars is often a lauching pad in the careers of young tennis players. I believe this year we’ve seen the future superstars of women’s tennis in Trnava. Marketa Vondrousova of Czech republic (17 years old) claimed the title, defeating Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay. With this victory Marketa broke into Top 100 for the very first time and continued her impressive match record. In the first 5 months of 2017, Marketa managed to win 47 matches and recorded only 6 loses. Anastasia Potapova of Russia (16 years old), who is currently the Junior number one, made another notable appearance. She lost to Cepede Royg in a very close semifinal match.

Viktoria Kuzmova recorded the best result for a Slovak player this year with 2nd round loss to Heather Watson. Watson and her british colleague Naomi Broady captured the doubles title. They defeated Renata Voracova and Chia-Jung Chuang in straight sets.

Lucie Safarova joins Empire Tennis Academy Trnava

Czech tennis player Lucie Safarova is the newest member of Empire Tennis Academy Trnava. Lucie is the 2015 Roland Garros Ladies Singles finalist, four times Grand Slam Doubles Winner with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, current no. 2 in WTA Doubles ranking (as of February 13th) and multiple Fed Cup winner. A small introductory press conference to the media was held on February 13th at Hotel Empire in Trnava.

Tennis Champions 2016

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.

ATP 500 Erste Bank Open Vienna 2016

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.

Empire Slovak Open 2016

In mid-May 2016, I shot the semifinals and finals of ITF Empire Slovak Open, the largest women’s tennis tournament in Slovakia. This ITF tourmanet with the prize money of 100 000 Dollars serves as the International women’s championship of Slovakia. Katerina Siniakova won the singles, defeating Anastasia Sevastova in a three set battle. In doubles, the talented Slovak junior Tereza Mihalikova claimed the title with her team-mate Anna Kalinskaya. They defeated the higher-ranked duo Anastasia Sevastova and Evgenyia Rodina in two sets.

Empire Slovak Open Trnava 2014

Last weekend I attended the 6th annual Empire Slovak Open ITF Women’s tennis tournament in Trnava, which is the largest women’s tennis tournament held in Slovakia. There were some promising names in the tournament’s lineup and I was looking forward for some outdoor shooting for a change. The variable light can be a bit of a challenge though. The harsh mid day light will guarantee very fast shutter speeds, but may introduce all kinds of over- or under- exposure problems. And the evening light can create some fantastic shadowplay on court. I really enjoyed working the light on this small center court.

The weather can also be the biggest hindrance to an outdoor sporting event. The singles finals between Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova of Czech republic had to be interrupted because of rain. Because of the downpour, the match had to be postponed till monday afternoon. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (with her electrifying glare) claimed her biggest tournament win to date after a two-set victory.

Here are some of my favorite shots I took during the three days I spent in Trnava, the rest can be found in a dedicated gallery on Tennis Arena: http://www.tennis-arena.cz/empire-slovak-open-2014-v-trnave-2023cz

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova – The 2014 Champion
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Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova – The runner-up
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Lesia Tsurenko
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Stephanie Vogt and Saisai Zheng – The doubles champions
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Margarita Gasparyan with Evgeniya Rodina – The doubles runner-ups
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Slovak Open 2013

I spent the weekend photographying the 14th annual Slovak tennis championships. This tournament is regarded as one of the best ATP Challenger Series tournaments. Even though it’s not in the same league as big ATP tournaments, it offers some interesting matches each year. Until today, no player managed to win this tournament twice. Slovak tennis player Lukas Lacko (who managed to win the tournament in 2011) defeated the defending champion Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic in three sets 6:4, 4:6, 6:4. Henri Kontinen and Andreas Siljestrom became the doubles champions.

I’ve published more than 80 photos from saturday’s semifinals and sunday’s final on my Slovak blog and my favorite photos from the weekend can be found here (larger versions available after a click).

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Daniela Hantuchova in Fed Cup

This weekend, the first round of 2013 edition of Fed Cup (the most prestigious women’s team competition in tennis) will take place all over the world. I decited to dedicate a few photos to the player that started it all for me. Eleven years ago I watched Daniela Hantuchova in a nerve-wrecking final match against Conchita Martinez of Spain. I became a fan and dreamed that once I’ll be able to photograph such an event. We’ve been waiting for another title ever since. But over the years, I’ve been able to take some nice photos of Daniela in various Fed Cup ties. Good luck against Serbia this weekend!

2012 – vs. France

2011 – Players Party – vs. Serbia

2007 – vs. Czech Republic

2007 – vs. Serbia

2011 – vs. Czech Republic

2010 – vs. China

2011 – vs. Czech Republic

2012 – vs. France

2009 – vs. Belgium

2011 – vs. Serbia

2007 – vs. Serbia

2009 – Training – vs. Belgium

2011 – vs. Serbia

2007 – vs. Czech Republic

2009 – vs. Belgium