The last few days have completely changed the life of Magda Linette. In 29 previous Grand Slam main draw attempts, she was unable to make it past the third round. Now, not only has she broken that barrier, but so far no one can stop her. On Wednesday, she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals and a day later will play for a pass to the decisive match. Many people at this stage expected to see Iga Świątek, but the Australian Open 2023 is a tournament of a 30-year-old Poznań player. For whom the success achieved in Melbourne is of particular value.
Happy but very tired. “Maybe I still don’t believe what happened?”
Linette arrives at the press conference after her victory over Pliskova (6-3, 7-5) about two hours after the end of the match. She sits down at the table with her head down, and her face is clearly very tired. After a while, the world’s 45th rocket (on Monday it will move up to the minimum of 22nd place) starts to answer questions, smiles and revives a bit. But when she is asked about her emotions, she immediately mentions being tired.
– What I feel? I’m actually tired (laughs). But it’s good. I’m pretty calm again. It helped me before and I think it’s good for the next game too. Especially since we’re playing tomorrow. It’s not over yet, so I’m still in action mode – throws an experienced competitor.
Some journalists who were not at the Polish woman’s earlier conference seem surprised by her calmness on the court and after the match. In the end, she was a huge success. But not only them. The tennis player herself admits that it is strange.
I don’t know where this calm comes from. Maybe I still don’t believe what happened? he wonders with a smile.
Great desire for a rematch at Pliskova. Worry about the coach
But after a while, she admits that she experienced a lot of emotions on Wednesday – she was much more stressed than before the previous round with Caroline Garcia. However, this was not so much related to the higher stakes. It was more of a rival. She previously had a record of 2-7 with Pliskova. She lost both of their matches in the Grand Slam, in the 1st round of the US Open. However, while five years ago she won only three games in total, last season it ended in a three-set battle, the fate of which was decided by a tie-break lost to 8.
“I had that game in New York before the game in my mind. It was so close and I really wanted to win a Grand Slam with her this time. I was still hurt by that loss. I cared, and our last game in the Billie Jean King Cup showed me that I was capable. I felt she was within my reach. So the pressure was greater, but in the pre-match warm-up the nerves were much smaller and I could control them. It’s nice that I managed to calm down and the tension did not increase – Linette recalled in an interview with journalists.
Her trainer Mark Gellard was having a hard time with her Wednesday match. Paweł Kuwik, a journalist from Eurosport, jokingly mentioned the emotional pumping of the British on Twitter. The Polish woman, on the other hand – knowing the trainer who reacts very emotionally and seeing him in the stands – was worried about him during the match.
– I was worried because I had the feeling that at the end I would pass out (smile). I thought she had to sit down,” Linette recalled.
Linette revisits the most painful experience of her life. She envied those who complained about isolation
For her, the tournament in Melbourne itself evokes additional emotions. All because of the events of two years ago. She was getting ready to fly to the antipodes, but at the last moment she actually had to withdraw. The reason was the increasing problems with the knee.
– It was the most painful experience of my life. Especially since for almost 11 weeks no one was able to make a diagnosis, so I lost five months in total. It was crucial. It happened quite a long time before the Australian Open, but because it was quite a difficult injury, no one was able to see what happened. We tried very hard to avoid surgery. It seemed to us that we had succeeded, and then literally the day before departure, the pain and unpleasant feeling that had accompanied me for some time significantly intensified – reported the Polish woman.
She added that she felt so bad that she had no choice. “I’ve made the decision that since I can’t walk, I shouldn’t even think about the Australian Open. So I had surgery and literally the next day I pulled out of the tournament. I already had my flight and hotel room booked. I listened to everyone who complained about the isolation back then and I was so jealous that they had to do it because I really wanted to be there.
She returned to the game after another six weeks. She wanted it to happen as soon as possible. But now she knows she was too quick.
– I haven’t played in a total of five months. I lost points and dropped in the ranking. I didn’t want to use the “ranking freeze”, because that would mean another month without competition. I was afraid of falling out of the top 100, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I’m not the youngest anymore. If I fell out of the 100, I might have to go back to playing ITF tournaments. I didn’t know what was going to happen – the experienced tennis player explained to journalists.
She also added that it coincided with a very difficult time in her private life. But it sure changed me a lot. I became a bit calmer. I have changed a lot in my life, I have made some difficult decisions and now I am receiving the reward for it – she concluded.
She will fight for the next one on Thursday with Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.
Tristin is an accomplished author and journalist, known for his in-depth and engaging writing on sports. He currently works as a writer at 247 News Agency, where he has established himself as a respected voice in the sports industry.