Umag, Croatia, ATP 250, Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, 524 340 euro, clay, outdoor: Doubles, 1R,  Igor ZELENAY (SVK)/Denys MOLCHANOV (UKR) - Pablo ANDUJAR / Gerard GRANOLLERS (ESP) 6-2 6-2, QF: Antonio SANCIC / Nino SERDARUSIC (CRO) 6-3 4-6 10-2, SF: Robin HAASE (NED) / Philipp OSWALD (AUT) 5-7 6-1 8-10; San Benedetto, Italy, ATP challenger, SAN BENEDETTO TENNIS CUP , €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Andrej MARTIN (SVK) - BYE, 2R: Jeroen VANNESTE (BEL) 6-2 6-4, 3R: Alexandre MULLER (FRA) 6-3 6-2, QF: Oriol ROCA BATALLA (ESP) 6-4 7-5, SF: ?-?; Piestany, Slovakia, ITF World Tennis Tour, M15 Piestany, 15 000 USD, clay, outdoor: 1R, Artem DUBRIVNYY (RUS) [4] - Yvo PANAK (CZE) 6-1 6-4, 2R: Oleksii KRUTYKH (UKR) 6-2 6-2, QF: Vladislav MELNIC (ROU) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4, SF: Fabian MAROZSAN (HUN) ?-?; Baja, Hungary, ITF World Tennis Tour, Baja Ladies Open, clay, outdoor: 1R, Vivien JUHASZOVA (SVK) - Draginja VUKOVIC (SRB) 6-3 6-2, 2R: Darya ASTAKHOVA (RUS) 6-1 6-2, QF: Dalma GALFI (HUN) 4-6 0-6; Doubles, 1R, JUHASZOVA/Lina GJORCHESKA (MKD) [3]  - Dorka DRAHOTA SZABO (HUN) / Adrienn NAGY (HUN) 6-1 6-4, QF: Petia ARSHINKOVA (BUL) / Gergana TOPALOVA (BUL) 6-1 7-6(6), SF: Reka-Luca JANI (HUN) / Lara SALDEN (BEL) [1] 4-6 3-6; Dolany - Veska, Czech Republic, junior ITF, ITF Veska 2019, Grade 4, clay, outdoor: 1R, Radka ZELNICKOVA (SVK) [8]  - BYE, 2R: Tereza DEJNOZKOVA (CZE) 7-5 6-0, 3R: Katerina GYGALOVA (CZE) 2-6 6-2 6-2, QF: Katerina MANDELIKOVA (CZE) [1] 3-6 6-1 6-3, SF: Julie STRUPLOVA (CZE) 6-2 6-2, F: Dominika SALKOVA (CZE) WALKOVER, ZELNICKOVA WON THE TITLE!, Amersfoort, Netherlands, ATP challenger, Van Mossel Dutch Open, €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Uladzimir IGNATIK (BLR)  - BYE, 2R: Tim VAN RIJTHOVEN (NED) 6-4 6-4, 3R: Blaz ROLA (SLO) 4-6 6-4 0-6.

Umag, Croatia, ATP 250, Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, 524 340 euro, clay, outdoor: Doubles, 1R,  Igor ZELENAY (SVK)/Denys MOLCHANOV (UKR) - Pablo ANDUJAR / Gerard GRANOLLERS (ESP) 6-2 6-2, QF: Antonio SANCIC / Nino SERDARUSIC (CRO) 6-3 4-6 10-2, SF: Robin HAASE (NED) / Philipp OSWALD (AUT) 5-7 6-1 8-10; San Benedetto, Italy, ATP challenger, SAN BENEDETTO TENNIS CUP , €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Andrej MARTIN (SVK) - BYE, 2R: Jeroen VANNESTE (BEL) 6-2 6-4, 3R: Alexandre MULLER (FRA) 6-3 6-2, QF: Oriol ROCA BATALLA (ESP) 6-4 7-5, SF: ?-?; Piestany, Slovakia, ITF World Tennis Tour, M15 Piestany, 15 000 USD, clay, outdoor: 1R, Artem DUBRIVNYY (RUS) [4] - Yvo PANAK (CZE) 6-1 6-4, 2R: Oleksii KRUTYKH (UKR) 6-2 6-2, QF: Vladislav MELNIC (ROU) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4, SF: Fabian MAROZSAN (HUN) ?-?; Baja, Hungary, ITF World Tennis Tour, Baja Ladies Open, clay, outdoor: 1R, Vivien JUHASZOVA (SVK) - Draginja VUKOVIC (SRB) 6-3 6-2, 2R: Darya ASTAKHOVA (RUS) 6-1 6-2, QF: Dalma GALFI (HUN) 4-6 0-6; Doubles, 1R, JUHASZOVA/Lina GJORCHESKA (MKD) [3]  - Dorka DRAHOTA SZABO (HUN) / Adrienn NAGY (HUN) 6-1 6-4, QF: Petia ARSHINKOVA (BUL) / Gergana TOPALOVA (BUL) 6-1 7-6(6), SF: Reka-Luca JANI (HUN) / Lara SALDEN (BEL) [1] 4-6 3-6; Dolany - Veska, Czech Republic, junior ITF, ITF Veska 2019, Grade 4, clay, outdoor: 1R, Radka ZELNICKOVA (SVK) [8]  - BYE, 2R: Tereza DEJNOZKOVA (CZE) 7-5 6-0, 3R: Katerina GYGALOVA (CZE) 2-6 6-2 6-2, QF: Katerina MANDELIKOVA (CZE) [1] 3-6 6-1 6-3, SF: Julie STRUPLOVA (CZE) 6-2 6-2, F: Dominika SALKOVA (CZE) WALKOVER, ZELNICKOVA WON THE TITLE!, Amersfoort, Netherlands, ATP challenger, Van Mossel Dutch Open, €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Uladzimir IGNATIK (BLR)  - BYE, 2R: Tim VAN RIJTHOVEN (NED) 6-4 6-4, 3R: Blaz ROLA (SLO) 4-6 6-4 0-6.

Molchanova and Privara, coached by Daniel Trcka, were successful also abroad: Among the best in Europe

Their ranking in the international Tennis Europe Junior Tour under 14 years of age speaks for everything. The two members of the EMPIRE Tennis Academy coached by Daniel Trcka - Peter Benjamin Privara and Olga Molchanova - were among the top Europeans among their peers. Peter’s best ranking in 2018 season was the 13th place and Olga’s the 5th. This is because of the progress in their game, which were talking about more in detail with their coach Daniel Trcka.

Have you had any idea that this may go so well for Privara and Molchanova in 2018 season?

About Peter Privara: "With Peter we wanted to get to the 50th ETA in rankings at the beginning of the season. That was the beginning, but it was clear in half of the season that he would meet this goal. So, we’ve tried to go as far as possible. I think that if we were focusing on ranking, he would get to the top 10. But we missed the two first category ETA tournaments because he’d played in two junior ITF events in Slovakia where he was given wild cards to the main draw. On the other hand, he´s got the first points on the ITF junior circuit, which was our goal. This was a better approach. Peter´s got a real level of play of the Top 10, and he has beaten the top-ranking players."

About Olga Molchanova: "There were some goals as well, but we didn´t have in minds a particular ranking. It was clear that Olga has got a potential. It was only a question how far she goes. The results came, but the ranking was not the top priority. I'm not saying it was spontaneous, but she's also a tennis player that loves tournaments. It turned out that the maximum is getting higher and higher. And we were ready to continue."

What is their progress as players, technically and mentally?

"As I mentioned earlier, both are match types, they need to play matches. They enjoy it. I say, training is for them just must. Because they like to compete, training for them is the way how to win. Peter enjoys training sometimes more, Olga is sometimes very hard to motivate. Peter needs the pace to have fun. Olga needs technical training to focus on details. They both have a huge desire to win. You don´t need to motivate them in matches, they give their maximum. Everybody different way. Both are fighters. Olga is willing to play 4-hours match and does not want to make any mistake. I remember her match 6-2 6-2, which lasted two and half hours. That’s improved during the season. She´s begun to play more offensive, smarter. Peter´s most powerful aspect of the game is creativity, improvisation, change of pace. Ability to find an opponent’s weakness. During the season, he played full-court tennis, went to the net, used drop shot, high topspin. Both know how to play almost every shot, but each one favors different tactic."

What are their biggest weapons on the court?

Peter Privara: "During the winning matches he was very aggressive from the forehand side, he knew how to play an aggressive high topspin forehand. It´s difficult for the opponent to get it back. It´s also surprising that he knew how to put a lot of pace to the backhand, even though he plays one-handed. He also used sliced backhand. He was very good on the tennis balls that he must get to. He knew not only how not to miss them but also to hit the winners. He is also very strong on the return."

Olga Molchanova: "With her it's the ability to hit exactly where she wants. She knows how to get her opponents in difficult situations, and then they miss the ball. She doesn´t make a big mistake. The same as with Peter, there´s no strong serve. Both were in their categories so good from the baseline that they didn´t need to serve so well. They will need stronger serve now in the category up to 18 years. We're working on it."

How many weeks did you spend with both at the tournaments?

"We started to travel with Peter in early April 2018. He then won the first tournament in Vinci, Croatia. We've been traveling since then. He´d played 17 tournaments, I´ve been a part of it, more than ten. With Olga I´d traveled less."

Which tournament with Peter was so satisfying, not only because he advanced to the last rounds, but you were happy with his playing as well?

"Of course, the European Championships was important, he won two matches over there. The first one he won convincingly, second one was one of the best performances of the last season. He won against a Turkish player who was as high as the third for the Tennis Europe ranking last season. Then he played well against the French, who eventually won the tournament. Then at Summer Cup Privara won all his matches, even against the No. 1 in Europe. But, ultimately, all the tournaments were important because we’d been together our first season and learned from each other. We were trying to get to know each other mainly the first half of the year. We were also in tournament under 16 in Losinj, where he lost in the finals and before he advanced in three consecutive matches in which he were losing and then turned them around. There were a lot of Croatians whom he was able to beat, and they were giving advice to one another how to play him. They sat together and thus fought against him. Equally important was the Barcelona tournament where he got into the finals. The last tournament in Chisinau, Moldova under 16 was also excellent, where he lost in the finals again. From Peter, the average player has become an internationally respected opponent."

Does he have anything extra that he is doing so well at the international tournaments, as opposed to other Slovak players of his age?

"He is not afraid; the wide variety of players motivates him. He wants to show up there. He has high personal goals, wants to be the first and the best. There´s no better motivation in sport like this one. That's what everybody aims for. It´s great that he has already earned the first points on the ITF circuit under 18, he was able to do it in doubles. In singles he was also very close to get some points. He´d lost in the 2nd round with the player around 400th in the tie break, in Zilina, it was a very even match. He has to be stable from the emotional side and he must believe in himself over these older tennis players, and then he can beat them. He also needs to physically mature."

Olga even won singles title in a junior tournament under 18 as 14-year-old in Niksic, Montenegro, in September.

"She´s got a great drive to win. There´s no nervousness inside her, although it does not always have to look like that. She´s got a very stable game, the girls are crushed by that, she hasn´t got any breakdowns. Even when I think she didn´t really want to go to that tournament, but eventually she won it. She´s got a game for it, and it may be slightly easier for girls than boys at this junior ITF level. Fourteen-year-old girls are physically and mentally more tougher compared to, when a 14-year-old boy should play against a 16-year-old. "

What are your plans with both?

"Thanks to the points from the ITF, Olga has got the great ranking for the 2019. The junior tournaments are a clear priority in this way. Peter will also go to the ITF tournaments, but there's an age rule that limits them in the number of tournaments. That's why we will also play some of Tennis Europe's tournaments under 16 years, in which he will also be in a good ranking for the new year. At ITF tournaments, it can happen after a tough draw that he drops out fast. That's why we have to have Tennis Europe there, so he doesn´t fall out of rhythm in matches. "

What would you be happy with, what further development do you see in them?

"In order for Peter to be always in the main tournaments of Grade 4 or 5 level for the next year, for example, at Slovakia, to try Piestany, it would be a shame not to play at it. He could get to the Top 500. ITF rankings, which would not be unachievable. Consequently, in his second year in the senior category he will be able to attend higher levels, Grade 2. As regards to Olga, I do not want to go overboard to avoid unnecessary stress, but she's already in the Top 1000, she can move in the Top 300 easily. It would be good if the singles ITF tournament in Prague in autumn had been already played in the main draw either from qualifying rounds or to be in it already."

You led in this category in the past several well-known players, including Tomas Berdych (former world No. 4). Has this category under 14 years somehow changed? Is it harder to crack in it?

"It was always difficult. But I think that in the past there were tennis players who played even better tennis at this age. The top players I´d trained were Berdych, Tabara. This is not just tennis. It is more complex, it is related to society, sports education. "

Can you specify it?

"Today, we also need to teach players things we´ve learned at school or free time. Generally, it is a problem for children to provide enough exercises and incentives to have a large stock of motion patterns. If they have it, they can easily handle different movement situations at high speed. This means that the players looked very talented in the junior categories, but then they came to the seniors and there are no longer able to keep up with the players there, they are always behind. Gymnastics, orientation in space - we need to do special training for everything today. In this way, is even harder on today´s children. There´s no such home competition overall, in Slovakia it´s a problem. This deficiency causes less production of internationally successful players. Slovak tennis players have to test themselves abroad, it takes more effort than it used to be. We had evenly matched opponents in Czechoslovakia, also at home, our generation had it relatively closer."

Photos by: 
Ivan Kopčáni, www.empire-tennis-academy.com
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