Linda Noskova – 16 years old, a new Czech tennis sensation
Linda Noskova experienced the biggest success of her career in Paris in 2021: She won the Junior Grand Slam at 16. Now she has an adult premiere.
Without the IMG agency and a guru-trainer
In 2022, no one is surprised by the influx of Czechs – the country is experiencing a boom of talented juniors. Sisters Linda and Brenda Fruchvirtov, Sarah Beylek, and Nikola Bartunkova are now being pushed by the equally young Noskova. It seems the girls are about to move on to the adult tour and make a loud statement.
Linda made a step on the way to world fame the day before. The 17-year-old Czech will play in the main draw of WG after wins over Russian Anna Blinkova, Connie Perrin of Switzerland and Rebecca Schramkova of Slovakia. Already a runner-up in the WTA Top 100, she could well crack the pro tour primaries on the majors.
Although for many people this encounter will be unexpected. She’s not a member of a famous IMG agency, and she’s not getting advice from an experienced coach from one of the most popular academies in the world.
She was born in a small village of Bystrica with a population of about a thousand people. She began her professional carrier in a tiny club in Moravia, but as time passed she began to experience lack of sparrings and trainers were not available on a regular basis.
So together with her mother she decided to quit everything and at age 14 moved from Prostejov to the town of Přerov in the east of the Czech Republic. No change comes easy, especially at the start, but for the girl this transfer turned out to be pivotal in her professional career. “If I hadn’t made that decision, I wouldn’t be playing the way I am now. Looking back, I’m glad I did,” she admits.
After working with local coaches, Noskova was picked up by Tomasz Krupa, the ex-coach of Berdych (with him his namesake reached the 2010 Wimbledon final), Radek Stepanek and Barbora Strycova. The Czech player was not a bad doubles player, so with Linda he plays very combinative and aggressive tennis.
“I need to be better at hitting. I try to have an attacking game, but I’m not always good at it. Ideally, I need to gain confidence in my strokes and also work on my fitness: especially my speed and sharpness.”
Inspired by Radukanu’s win
Noskova plans to hone those skills as an adult – she’s done with juniors. Emma Radukanu’s example at the victorious USO-2021, as the athlete repeatedly admitted, inspires her – it seems that even the unknown qualifiers can make a difference. That’s why Noskova doesn’t regret not getting a wild card like her peer and compatriot Linda Fruhvirtova – playing practice is more important.
“Linda has a big IMG agency that deals directly with the cards, so I’m not at all surprised that she gets them regularly,” the tennis player said.
Prior to Paris, Noskova had been successful against adult opponents at ITF tournaments, winning five of them in two years. She is third in the WTA Junior and already the world’s 185th-ranked player on the pro tour. With that density of Czechs in the rankings, Linda is the ninth racquet in the country. And this at the age of 17! Noskova sees regular play against more experienced and older opponents as an advantage as she transitions from junior to adult. “It’s going to be different in the WTA. Girls don’t make so many mistakes at these tournaments anymore, I have to play myself,” the athlete is confident.
The increased media attention after her triumph in 2021 hasn’t changed her in any way. Linda calls herself a tennis introvert. Like Krejcikova and Pliskova, she keeps all her emotions inside, but on the court she is not nervous at all and concentrates primarily on her game. “Most people who know me understand that I’ve always been like that. If I had to vent my emotions on the court, it definitely wouldn’t help me,” says the athlete.
In Paris, Linda will be joined by more experienced teammates: the “WG”-2021 champion Krejcikova, Pliskova, Kvitova, Siniakova, Martincova, Muhova and Buzkova. And it’s not a fact that the leaders won’t cut off before that!