MELBOURNE, Australia -- 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova is confident she's a contender for the Australian Open title, but she's preaching patience as she works her way back to her best level.
The 27-year-old Czech has paved a smooth path back to the third round at Melbourne Park. She's lost a total of nine games and will face Anhelina Kalinina for a spot in the Round of 16. It would be her first second week at a Slam since making the Australian Open quarterfinal last year.
WTA Insider caught up with the former World No.2 to discuss her pre-season preparation and what she needs to get back to the top of the game.
WTA Insider: How much confidence did your win in Ostrava last fall give you? Did it add extra motivation during the pre-season?
Krejcikova: With the matches at the end of the year, I think it definitely helped because I just started to feel my tennis again. I was able to win to close matches and I was able to beat the players that were lower ranked better than before when I was losing to them. It definitely helped my mind. I felt more and more confident about it, about everything, about the mental part, the physical part, the tennis, about everything that's around tennis.
WTA Insider: So what did you do in your offseason?
Krejcikova: I had a little break during the offseason, so that was nice. I went to the Caribbean for 10 days and I just chilled. I did some water activities, like paddleboarding and I went to a zip-line park. I brought my racquets because I thought I might feel to hit, but I didn't.
Then I did a lot of fitness sessions and then we added some tennis as well. I also had a nice holiday with my family, spending some time. I feel refreshed. I feel good.
WTA Insider: What are your goals for this year?
Krejcikova: Just be healthy. After what I experienced last year with everything, this year definitely the biggest goal is to stay healthy.
Last year I started really well and then unfortunately, I got injured and then I wasn't able to play for many months. So I missed a lot of weeks of playing. This year, I don't want to do the same mistake. I just want to take it more slowly because I know that the season is so long and I want to play well throughout the whole season and I want to stay healthy. So I have to just manage a little better than I did last year.
I want to add some tournaments, some big tournaments. I want to try to win something again. That's going to be the plan. But definitely, I'm not going to go crazy about it. I'll do my best and it will click or it won't.
WTA Insider: What do you need to get your confidence up to where you need it to be?
Krejcikova: It's just playing matches and try to do the best. I feel that I have good feel when I play. If I have a good feel and I lose, that's fine. It's really the beginning of the season. So I have to just stay patient and just work.
I believe that the level is there, and I believe the more I'm going to play and more I'm going to be playing matches and playing some weeks, some singles, some doubles, I believe that again, I can get back on a high level and to play the best players in the world.
WTA Insider: What do you love most about playing in Melbourne?
Krejcikova: I would say crowds in Melbourne. I think they're very supportive and they can do a lot of crazy, crazy stuff. I like the energy. I like when there are people and they scream and they enjoy tennis and they give us a good atmosphere.
Czech is very small and we don't really have like communities like around the world. It's a little different. It's really tough to actually get the support from the fans when they don't really know you and they're not actually connected to you in some way. It's tough, but I'm definitely looking forward.
I experienced a big thing in Ostrava when I played Iga, it was really special. It was half Czech, half Polish, and it was a really, really good atmosphere. I felt like people, they really enjoyed the tennis. I would be really happy to experience something like that also in Melbourne and to maybe add some new fans for me that would be on my side.
I try to stay present and I'm just really looking forward to starting the season. I hope it's going to be a healthy season this year.