Tennis Birthdays: Feb. 4, 2016

A grand Slam champion celebrates today.

Lucie Safarova (CZE), 29

The adorable Czech lefty finally broke into the top 20 in the summer of 2012, climbing back from having fallen out of the top 50 once she got close to that mark in 2007.

She kind of maintained around the No. 25 spot for a few years. And then, in 2015 at Wimbledon, she had a breakthrough in reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals before losing to eventual champ, and Fed Cup teammate, Petra Kvitova.

But Safarova is in a holding pattern at the moment. A bacterial infection basically wiped out her fall, then Singapore, which she qualified for for the first time and then her off-season, and she had to skip the Australian Open where she was the defending champion in women’s doubles with American Bethanie-Mattek-Sands.

Safarova-Mattek-sands

Canadian coach Rob Steckley, as loose as she is tight, seems to have been a very good influence on her in the 2 1/2 years they’ve worked together. He has great faith in her talent; the key was to get her to play up to it.

Safarova-BerdychSafarova’s big drama a few years ago was getting dumped by childhood sweetheart Tomas Berdych, who went the cliché route in replacing her with a model type.

Seriously, that’s like dumping Bambi. I mean look at how adorable these two were; beyond looking a little too much like brother and sister, They were just too cute for words.

Amusing that her first Grand Slam title came at the tournament where Berdych announced his engagement to said model.

It seems Safarova bounced back with a Czech MMA guy, last year was dating someone who works for the USTA and this year, planned to have her boyfriend with her on the road. Except she hasn’t hit the road, yet.

She’s been a stalwart for her country in Fed Cup through the years, often carrying them before Kvitova came on the scene to help her out. She didn’t play in Quebec City last year against the Canadians.  She’s not playing against the Romanians this weekend, either.

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