Karolina Muchova may have fallen one match short in her quest for her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, but the Czech can look back fondly on her two best weeks at a Grand Slam tournament in her career.
"I felt it was very close, a close match," Muchova said after losing to defending champion Iga Swiatek in a dramatic three-set final on Saturday. "But overall, to call myself a Grand Slam finalist, it's an amazing achievement, and for sure big motivation for me to work in the future and to get a chance again to play for these big titles.
"I always believe when I go to the Grand Slam, but I believed in every Grand Slam I played before and I've never played the final. So the belief is there, but that I actually achieved it, it's a very nice and warm feeling for me.
"It's good for the confidence. [...] It says to me that I'm able to do this, to do these big results. It's very motivational, and now I feel I can do it and I will for sure try to get there again and to put up a fight for the title on the next stages."
On Saturday, Muchova became the first player to take a set off of Swiatek in a Grand Slam final, after the Pole had won her three prior major finals in straight sets. Muchova also led by a break two times in the third set before top-seeded Swiatek turned the match in her favor and collected her fourth Grand Slam title.
"Iga is World No.1 and I was so close," Muchova said. "I think now that I can do it. Obviously I know it's not like, you know, just like that (snapping fingers). It's a lot of work and effort to do, but I'm willing to take that.
"I gave my everything on the court today, so I have nothing to regret, or however to say that."
The 26-year-old Muchova, who has struggled with injuries throughout her career, had beaten Swiatek in their previous meeting, but that came four years ago when both were ranked outside the Top 90.
"To play against [Swiatek], you have to be ready," Muchova said. "The balls are coming fast. She's not doing any easy mistakes, and you always know that [when] you have a chance and you have to take it, because maybe there is no other chance. That's why she's World No.1 and you have to bring your best performance to be able to beat her."
Nevertheless, Muchova will return to the Top 20 of the WTA singles rankings on Monday, following her exceptional fortnight where she beat two Top 10 players (No.2 Aryna Sabalenka and No.8 Maria Sakkari). The Czech is hopeful for even greater successes as she moves off the clay and onto grass.
"I look forward to playing on the grass, on the fast surfaces, that's for sure the surfaces I prefer and I like more," two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Muchova said. "It's just nice to know that I can play on the clay great as well. [...] It could have ended up a little bit better, but it was still pretty great."