New French Open women’s singles champion Barbora Krejcikova remembered her late coach, Jana Novotna, in her moment of celebration on Saturday.
“I cannot believe what just happened, I cannot believe that I actually won a Grand Slam,” said Barbora during an on-court interview after defeating Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in one hour and 58 minutes.
“I was going through a really hard time when Jana was passing away, I was most of the time [with] her, and I really wanted to experience this because I thought it’s just going to make me really strong. Pretty much her last words were, ‘Just enjoy and just try to win a Grand Slam [title]’.”
Jana, the Wimbledon singles champion in 1998 and winner of multiple doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, died while battling cancer ages 49 in November 2017.
“I know that from somewhere she’s looking out for me and all of this, what happened these two weeks is because she is just looking after me probably and I just want to really thank her,” said 25-year-old Barbora, winner of two women’s doubles Grand Slam title in 2018.
“It’s amazing that I had a chance to meet her and that she was such an inspiration for me. I just really miss her but I hope she’s happy right now and I’m extremely happy.”