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.
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 – 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.
Elina Svitolina, currently No. 10 in WTA Tour Ranking and member of Empire Tennis Academy currently spends a few days in Trnava, Slovakia. On April 1st she met tennis fans and media representatives during the Academy’s Kids Day. She also spent the previous afternoon training with the young members of TC Empire Trnava. The kids were eager to show their talent to Elina and tried their best shots (notably the boy in yellow t-shirt).
Shot for: Empire Tennis Academy and Tennis Arena Magazine.
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.
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.
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