11.07.2019 - Gstaad
Two weeks ago she the lowest she had felt in her career. Fast forward to today and Marketa Sluková is celebrating a guaranteed top 10 place in the Swatch Major Gstaad– even though doctors advised against her playing here in the mountains.
The broken toe sustained before the World Championship in Hamburg left the Czech star devastated. As one of the favorites for the title, she and teammate Barbora Hermannová had to make the tough decision to pull out.
But, unable to resist the lure of the alpine air, Marketa decided to play through the pain barrier in a a quest to get her hands on an elusive cowbell.
And the manner of their comeback victory over darlings of the Swiss crowd, Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich, suggests the Czech pair could go far.
“It’s been a little over 14 days since I fractured it but the toe is okay – I am very aware of the foot when I play, there’s a pinching pain but we just did not want to leave out another highlight of the season,” explained Marketa.
“I’m happy we managed as a team, we compensated for my injury. I can’t run as fast as I’m used to and Bara really stepped up and did amazing in block and on serve. We created a game style that really worked.”
But what about this doctor’s advice?
“I actually need probably another 14 days,” admitted the defender. “Our coach was happy for us not to play. It was up to Bara and me to make the decision but we just felt we would go for it.
“I feel it in every step – I mean there’s a fracture! – and you really need the grip of the toes in the sand. It’s bearable in games at the moment because I’m playing on the adrenaline. It’s painful afterwards and it’s a little sore, but during the game I almost forget.”
The 17-21, 21-19, 15-6 triumph on Center Court means the Czech team, who have finished fifth on their last two visits to Gstaad, are now one win away from reaching the quarter-finals again.
However, as the story their smiles told as the last point hit the sand, the pair are
here to enjoy themselves.
“When we decided to play we said ‘let’s take it step by step’ as we were not really sure how far we could go,” said Sluková.
“First thing was to see whether the toe could sustain the pressure so we didn’t put big ambitions out there.
“It was a case of ‘let’s see if we can play’ and now we’re on the top 10 so let’s see where it goes.”