Tennis

Tennis: Czech Republic Dominates National Group Competitions in 2012

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - NOVEMBER 18:  L-R Ivo Minar,Lukas Rosol,Radek Stepanek,Tomas Berdych and team captain Jaroslav Navratil of Czech Republic hold the winners trophy aloft after a 3-2 victory against Spain during day three of the final Davis Cup match between Czech Republic and Spain at the 02 Arena on November 18, 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Michael Ann McKinlayContributor IIINovember 19, 2012

As Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek lifted up their first Davis Cup in their respective careers, and the first time for the Czech Republic since 1980, they were also setting a record. 

With yesterday's win, the Czech Republic became the first country to win the Hopman Cup, Fed Cup and Davis Cup all in the same year. 

After clinching a dramatic fifth rubber against Nicolas Almagro, Stepanek told the ATP World Tour all the emotions going through him: 

I was dreaming about it my whole life and now we're standing here as Davis Cup champions, it's amazing...I came on the court with a mindset that I had to stay calm, hungry and concentrated. That's what I did tremendously well today.

It all started early in the season, in Perth, Australia, as Berdych and Petra Kvitova (both top Czech players on their respective tours) won each of their four singles matches, defeating France’s Richard Gasquet and Marion Bartoli in the final. 

Then just two weeks ago, Kvitova and Lucie Safarova teamed up against a tough Serbian team lead by former world No. 1’s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. Despite not playing at 100 percent at the WTA Championships due to a viral illness, Kvitova scored a critical second rubber win against Jankovic before Safarova sealed the deal in the fourth rubber the next day. Safarova described what it felt like to win to Fedcup.com:

Here at home in this type of crowd, it’s indescribable, it’s an amazing feeling... There are so many emotions and happiness and that is the feeling we are practicing for every day, even if you’re not in the mood to work.

 

This was the nation’s seventh Fed Cup title, and defended their 2011 crown. 

As for the men, this past weekend was filled with drama as the Czech Republic took on a Nadal-less Spain for the Davis Cup. On Friday, David Ferrer secured the first point for Spain by defeating Stepanek in straight sets before Berdych won one of the biggest matches of his life, battling past Almagro in five close sets. On Saturday, the Czech team stunned reigning ATP World Tour Finals doubles champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez.  On Sunday, Berdych failed to clinch the Davis Cup, succumbing to Ferrer, leaving it to Stepanek to clinch the cup, and he defeated Almagro in four sets. 

Both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup were won on home soil and Kvitova, Berdych and Stepanek hope these wins will propel them into the 2013 season. 

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