2021.01.27 18:25 Frissítve: 2021.01.27 18:31

Schett on Babos: She has a strong personality, and could defeat anyone on the court on her better days

According to Austrian former tennis player and current Eurosport commentator Barbara Schett, Hungarian Tímea Babos can achieve good results in singles as well if she can make her game balanced enough.

According to Barbara Schett, Tímea Babos can achieve good results in singles as well (Photo: Eurosport)


– Tímea Babos won three matches at the Australian Open qualification rounds, so she clinched a spot in the singles main draw as well. Can she get closer to the top again?
– Timi is obviously fantastic at doubles, – said Eurosport commentator Barbara Schett who answered some of Nemzeti Sport's questions in an online chat with a small circle of journalists before the Australian Open. – She focused on it last year as well. She won Gram Slam tournaments with Kiki Mladenovic, so she could boost her confidence. She has a very strong personality and could defeat anyone on the court on her better days. However, she often struggles with not having a performance balanced enough. She has to make her game balanced in singles too and to believe in her skills. If she can do it, she can reach the same level as before. I know it's not easy to play singles and doubles simultaneously, but many players can achieve lasting results in both.


Name: Barbara Schett
Born: March 10, 1976; Innsbruck, Austria
Citizenship: Austrian
Professional career: 1992–2005
Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Highest ranking in singles/doubles: 7th/8th
WTA Tour wins in singles/doubles: 3/10
Best Grand Slam Singles Result: US Open QF (1999)
Best Grand Slam Doubles Result: US Open SF (1999, 2004), Australian Open SF (2000)
Prize money: 3,190,510 USD

– Who do you consider the bests in women's singles in Melbourne?
– I'd start with Ashleigh Barty who hasn't stressed herself out for a year now. She hasn't even left Australia, leads the rankings, didn't have to quarantine herself, knows the courts and the conditions which are big advantages. The question is how she can manage her game after a long period of no tournaments. Then there are also Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, so the competition is big. Those who spend quarantine in Adelaide may be in a better position. Viktoria Azarenka can't even leave her hotel room for 14 days in Melbourne, which makes it difficult to win a Grand Slam. Then I haven't even talked about Czech Petra Kvitová or Karolína Plíšková. We are looking ahead of an exciting competition! It'll be important how everyone can overcome the difficulties of preparation. I can imagine that there's going to be a new Major champion, but it would also be great to have Serena's record-setting victory. Unfortunately, the conditions are not equal for everyone, but at least we can see some tennis.

– Can we say that the younger generation of the men's Australian Open has a better chance now to win the trophy than Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal?
– We have to put Djokovic and Nadal first in line, but Dominic Thiem caught up to them – and I'm not saying this because he's also Austrian. He deserved the Grand Slam win last year, and because he could relax during the break and isn't the neurotic type of a person, he might take quarantine well. Let's not forget, though, that if Djokovic didn't hit the line umpire with the ball in Round 4 in New York, he might be a step closer to becoming the Gland Slam record holder. The Djokovic-Nadal match will still be the most important game. Then Thiem, Tsitsipas, Rublev, Medvedev or Alexander Zverev are also great tennis players. It's great that young people break through and more generations compete against each other.

– Can Djokovic break Roger Federer's and Rafael Nadal's 20-time GS win record?
– Absolutely! Simply look at the quality of his game. He's also suffered a lot from injuries, but it seems he'll overtake Federer soon in terms of the number of weeks leading the rankings. We're looking ahead of a great tennis season, especially if Roger makes a comeback. Along with Nadal, this trio still represent the highest level of tennis, and it's unbelievable that we've been watching them compete for 15 years!

– Did Djokovic deserve what he had received from the Australian public and Nick Kyrgios for calling out the organizers on the circumstances of the tennis players?
– I understand both standpoints. Djokovic wanted to help his colleagues who were quarantined in Melbourne hotel room while others could train, which is obviously not a favorable condition. The government's regulations are strict; even the president of the United States wouldn't be allowed to leave his room if he was in contact with a COVID-infected person. The state of Victoria has had a tough five months of complete shutdown: those living and working abroad couldn't travel back home, and people couldn't leave their homes. So, locals aren't happy when they hear tennis players who could land in their country complain about life conditions. People were indeed ruthless with him, but Novak, as always, has acted with good intentions. However, we have to understand that until we get rid of the virus, which seems unrealistic before 2022, the players can be grateful that they can leave their country at all. In addition, they can thank Craig Tiley for organizing the Australian Open because right now the most important thing for tennis is to have competitions.

Translated by Vanda Orosz

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