Barbora Krejcikova landed in San Diego with a four-match losing streak and a host of questions about her prospects for the end of the season. She left as the Cymbiotika San Diego Open champion, reminding the field just how dangerous she can be when she is healthy.
The key to the Czech's run to her seventh Hologic WTA Tour title and second of the season?
She just didn't want to leave San Diego.
"I was awarded a wild card, otherwise, I wouldn't be here," Krejcikova told WTA Insider. "That was really nice from the organizers. We had a nice hotel on an island, the beach, water everywhere, the facility here is very nice."
Krejcikova's run to a sweep of both the singles and doubles titles buoyed her belief for her last push of the season. The win put her back in the Top 10 and boosted her four places in the Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard, up to No.12. Along with her title in Dubai in February, the former No.2 has won multiple titles in each of her last three seasons.
San Diego marks a solid rebound for Krejickova, who was building momentum in the grass season after making the final in Birmingham. But she sustained an ankle injury in her second round at Wimbledon that forced a retirement. She was sidelined until Cincinnati, where she played with minimal preparation.
"It was a longer period than expected to get back," Krejcikova said. "It takes time to get back the confidence when everyone is in a good rhythm and playing and winning.
"This title is definitely special after being injured and going through many difficult things. After not winning for the last couple of weeks, playing well, fighting through it, it's a big title.
"This U.S. series was really difficult so this is a nice cherry on top."
Krejcikova spoke to WTA Insider after her title run to discuss the mental fortitude required to get over a mid-season injury.
WTA Insider: How did you feel about your game and where you were when you landed in San Diego?
Krejcikova: Not good (laughs).
But it was my first time here. It definitely gave me a nice vibe.
WTA Insider: When did you feel things started to click this week?
Krejcikova: I think things already started to click at the U.S. Open. The singles was very close and then we played doubles, we had a tough draw, so it was difficult to get through. But I was there and practicing and already there, it was getting better.
But after the first win here, things got different. It was a different mindset after that. I finally got a win, so that was really important. Then I just felt like I just needed to keep going and try to play, fight, and I won another won and another won, and now we're here.
WTA Insider: After your win over Danielle Collins you pointed to your head. Why was that such a mental win for you?
Krejcikova: It was a really difficult match because I was losing most of the time. I thought Danielle played a really incredible match. Then it just shifted. In the second set, I was able to break her. In the third set, I just think I was mentally stronger. The mental part was a big moment there.
So yeah, it was a celebration. There's phones and then there's this (laughs).
WTA Insider: Are we going to see you do the phone celebration next?
Krejcikova: No (laughs). It's Ben's [Shelton]. I'll leave it to him. But maybe there are other ones.
WTA Insider: You're back in the Top 10 on Monday, along with the other 5,000 Czechs in the Top 10.
Krejcikova: Am I?
WTA Insider: You and 5,000 other Czechs, yes.
Krejcikova: Crazy, no? It's a great motivation. What Marketa did this year, what Karolina did in Paris. At Wimbledon, I got injured, and I was looking at them on TV. It just motivates me because they're great. They fight and they've been injured a lot. So it's special.
WTA Insider: What is the key to maintaining this momentum over the next few weeks?
Krejcikova: The key is to stay healthy. That is the most important thing. If I can stay healthy, then I can play good tennis. Just stay healthy and we will see what will happen at the end of the season.