PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- One of the Czech Republic's longest-tenured players got a sendoff at home on Sunday, as Klara Koukalova was celebrated at the J&T Banka Prague Open.
“When I stepped on the court [for the ceremony], I was remembering all my matches at this tournament – I played one final and one quarterfinal – so great memories," Koukalova, who retired officially from tennis in September, said. "I was also practicing at this club, so I was here every morning. Lots of emotions today."
Prior to Sunday's qualifying match between Czechs Lucie Hradecka and Karolina Berankova, Koukalova was celebrated in a retirement ceremony, attended by Natalia Vikhlantseva, compatriot Katerina Siniakova, Viktorija Golubic, Maria Sakkari and Beatriz Haddad Maia. Following the ceremony, Koukalova did the coin toss for the match.
"Breaking into the Top 100 for the first time in the Australian Open [in 2003] was a special moment, because this was a big breakthrough with my tennis," Koukalova said, "To be honest, the biggest achievement for me was to reach the Top 20 in singles. This meant a lot to me."
Koukalova peaked at a career-high ranking of No.20 in 2013 and won three WTA singles titles and four WTA doubles titles in her career. The Prague native reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon in 2010 and the French Open in 2012.
Over the course of her career, she recorded victories over Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Monica Seles, Dinara Safina and Li Na, among others.
She also represented the Czech Republic in three Olympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012), and also posted a 10-5 record in Fed Cup.
“I will miss for sure the friends. The tour we are like one big family," Koukalova reflected. "I travelled for more than 15 years, so I will miss them all for sure - but I will stay with tennis because I’m now commentating on tennis tournaments for Czech TV. I don’t know how good I am at this yet, but I really enjoy it. It means I’m still involved in tennis but in a different way.”
Check out more pictures from Koukalova's retirement ceremony below:
All photos courtesy of TK Sparta Praha / Pavel Lebeda and the J&T Banka Prague Open.