In the past two weeks, Barbora Krejcikova swept back-to-back titles at the Tallinn Open and AGEL Open. The 2021 French Open champion rallied from a set down to hand top-ranked Iga Swiatek her first loss in a final since 2019, winning 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 in Ostrava.
Krejcikova's two-week indoor run in which she won nine consecutive matches, thrust her back into the spotlight she missed for much of the season. At the start of the year, Krejcikova looked well on her way toward following up her breakout 2021 campaign. She made the final in Sydney and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open to boost herself to a career-high No.2, but an elbow injury sidelined her for months.
"It was difficult because I think the beginning of the season was great," Krejcikova told WTA Insider after her Ostrava win. "Then the injury and being out for so long, more than three or four months, it was difficult to come back. It was the middle of the season and I was trying to find my form.
"So it was difficult. I'm just happy that I found it and I'm back right now."
Going into Tallinn, Krejcikova had not made a semifinal or beaten a Top 30 player since January and was at risk of dropping out of the Top 30 for the first time since she became a major champion. Since then, she is 5-0 against Top 30 opposition, with wins against No.1 Swiatek, No.3 Anett Kontaveit, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, Belinda Bencic and Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Krejcikova is as stumped as anyone as to why her game suddenly clicked.
"There was a lot of work behind it, tough days, emotions, a lot of everything," she said. "But overall I really don't know what happened, what clicked. I think it's just the hard work and trusting the process and believing that my chance is going to come."
Here's more from an ecstatic but exhausted Krejcikova, on the electric atmosphere in Ostrava and how her win reframes her 2022 campaign.
WTA Insider: Was there a match or practice session where you felt like your game was coming together?
Krejcikova: Maybe a couple of practices before Tallinn when I was practicing at home. I felt like things were starting to click in and I felt good after the practices. I came to Tallinn and I was telling my coach I really like it here. The city was very historical, which I like, and there was a lot of nature everywhere. It was very familiar.
From then on it's been two difficult weeks but two very happy weeks for me.
2/3: Thanks everyone in the arena for making such an electric atmosphere! And for so many beautiful messages I have received after my match today ❤️ it means a world to me 🥰@iga_swiatek - This was epic!!! You are such a ⭐️ already, the most dominant @wta player of this season,— Barbora Krejcikova (@BKrejcikova) October 9, 2022
WTA Insider: You've made it clear in previous interviews how much you love playing against the best players on the big stages. The atmosphere in Ostrava against the World No.1 was electric.
Krejcikova: I knew before the match it was going to be a full house and all the tickets were sold. I was expecting it to be a big match so I was enjoying it. It was a lot of fun. Even when I was down I wanted to make it longer and longer and let's just enjoy. To me, someone cheering for me it doesn't happen very often during the season on the tour when I'm away from home. So it's very special.
I really have to say, playing finals against Iga is really difficult, but I'm really happy that I was able to do that. I was putting in so much effort and so much fight, fighting until the last ball. For sure it's one of the biggest matches for me, with the performance and the conditions, the atmosphere with the fans, just everything. It was one of the most amazing matches for me.
WTA Insider: Is there a sense of relief that you've been able to find this level again?
Krejcikova: I always felt like it's there, it's just hiding. I didn't just forget all that I did last year. I still felt like it's there.
I'm really pleased that everything that I went through and everything that happened, it changed me and gave me extra energy. I think I'm a different player, a different person. I'm really happy to be part of the big game again.
WTA Insider: You're playing so well but the season is nearly finished. How does this set you up for 2023?
Krejcikova: It feels great but there's always next week, the next tournament, different conditions. You start from zero. It's really hard to be consistent the whole season. These two weeks that I had were amazing and I had great performances, but the next tournament when I go there it will be a new tournament and it will be difficult again. But I'm looking forward to this challenge.
When this season finishes I'm going to look forward to next season because I'm just really enjoying playing tennis and I love the play these big stages. So I hope from now on I'm going to be a part of these big stages more often.
WTA Insider: Do the last two weeks change how you see your 2022 season?
Krejcikova: I saw the season very positive anyway. Even though singles wasn't maybe working very well, I had amazing results in doubles all season. So I saw the season as positive. So I told myself let's try and finish on a positive note as well. This is a big positive note.
1/3: Letos zůstává trofej doma! 🏆🇨🇿❤️— Barbora Krejcikova (@BKrejcikova) October 9, 2022
Moc moc všem děkuji za báječnou atmosféru v aréně! A všem co fandili u obrazovek a napsali mně tolik hezkých zpráv ❤️ moc to pro mě znamená 🥰
Trophy is staying at home this year! 🏆🇨🇿❤️ pic.twitter.com/3SH3bPHOIR