Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

Cibulkova feels she can win a major

By Chris Pike
28 January 2014 03:54AM EST

NOW that she has tasted a Grand Slam final, Dominika Cibulkova feels that she is ready to take the next step up and become the first Slovak to claim a major championship.

The 24-year-old had the fortnight of her career in Melbourne making the Australian Open final before losing to China's Li Na 7-6 (7), 6-0 on Saturday night.

While not the perfect result, just by making the final Cibulkova had achieved her career-best result and also became the first player from the Slovak Republic to make a Grand Slam final.

Along the way to the final, Cibulkova beat former Grand Slam winners Francesca Schiavone and Maria Sharapova, current world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, 11th-seed Simona Halep and former world No. 14 Carla Suarez Navarro.

Prior to this year's Australian Open, Cibulkova had never been ranked higher than No. 12 in the world and had only ever reached one Grand Slam semi-final way back in 2009 at the French Open.

However, she has now risen to a ranking of 13 in the world, has shown she can match the top women and indeed beat them, and that gives her the self-belief now that it could just be a matter of time before she becomes a Grand Slam champion.

"Yes, yes, I feel that way. I'm just 24. I'm 24 years old and already play in Grand Slam finals. I feel like my game is there to challenge the biggest names, you know, to beat them, so why not?" she said.

"Of course it changes the way you see. Now I know I'm 100 per cent sure I can do it, you know. I get so much confidence from this tournament. I don't want to see it as a pressure, you know. I want to keep going like that. I already did well before at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, so I can play on every surface."

It is often said that you have to lose a final to win one and that is what Cibulkova now becomes the case with her.

Her previous best Grand Slam performance came way back in 2009 and it took 18 more major tournaments until she was able to get back to a semi-final and indeed better it at this year's Australian Open.

She is now hoping the experience from her performances in Melbourne where she put together the most dominant tennis of career can now see her continue that form, and then also learn from the experience of losing the final to try and make sure she wins next time if she's able to get back there.

"I learn a lot. I learn, yeah, of course it will be great to win my first finals of Grand Slam, but I think it takes time, you know. It's not that easy. Now I know that it's just another match, you know, in your life. That's how you have to take it," Cibulkova said.

"When I played my first semi finals of a Grand Slam I just went on the court. I was 19 years old. I was just like happy I'm already there and I was not fighting for the finals. Now I know how it is to play the finals. I'm not saying it was the same today, but I think you have to go through some things to learn, you know."

Cibulkova has taken great confidence out of her performance over the last fortnight in Melbourne to make her first Grand Slam final and after for years being asked why she hasn’t been able to break into the top 10, she now feels like that is where she belongs.

"My game is for sure there. My game, it's good enough to be there. So that's what I'm need to be to play like this like more times in the year."

Cibulkova's parents weren’t in Melbourne to see their daughter take part in her first Grand Slam final, and perhaps that was a good thing in the case of her father, but now she can't wait to get home to Bratislava to spend some time with her family before returning to the tour.

"My dad almost got knocked down by security because he ran on the court (in Palo Alto) but he's not here so nobody's jumping on the court. I'm sure it's going to be a big celebration when I get back home with the people, and then I will have my private celebration," Cibulkova said.

"I will party some when I get home for sure. But my mom, she always wanted to come here, but then she said it's too far. My dad's always saying it's too far. But we'll see. My dad, he's too nervous to watch it. But he was awake, for sure. My mom, she always watch the match after when they show it again."

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)