GUANGZHOU, China - WTA star Jarmila Gajdosova shone brightly at the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women's Open this past week, making the fifth WTA doubles final of her career, but there was something she was playing through - the worst thing that can ever happen to a person.
A brave Gajdosova shares her feelings...
First of all, I love coming to this tournament. I have great memories from a couple of years ago and I really enjoy everything about this tournament, from the tournament director to the rest of the staff to the fans and everyone else here. It's very relaxing to be here, therefore I always come back. Every year I look forward to this event. But on Friday afternoon I was told my mum died.
It was a shock. I've been very sad. I cried a lot when I found out and I still do. I can't believe my mum is gone - she was always the best mum in the world and I love her very much. I will miss her as long as I live. In a way, it feels like a really bad dream that you're trying to wake up from, but you can't.
I spoke to my dad and my brother as I heard the news and they told me to keep playing, that my mum will always be home when I finish, that I can visit her when I come home, and that I still have my life and my tennis to take care of. So I was trying to win this week for my mum, but as you can imagine it was hard to concentrate, and the more I tried, the worse it got. I was very sad when I lost. It broke my heart - I really wanted to win for my mum to be proud, but I couldn't.
I've had a tough year, and it was a tough decision to keep playing as I wanted to be with my dad and my family, but my mum will be home when I come back. Everyone has been very caring and nice to me - I got a lot of beautiful flowers and it meant a lot to me. And my doubles partner, Monica, is a lovely girl. She has been a lot of fun to play with and spend time with this week. Unfortunately we came up short in the final, but it was still nice to make a final.
For my fans, thank you for all of your support through these last 18 months, which have been tough for my tennis and my life, too.
I'll be back, and I hope to see you all again soon.