In Sports News this Monday: Berdych confirms he will sit out rest of Davis Cup season; Zakopalová wins first title in over eight years; Sparta remain five points clear after win at Bohemians 1905; national side preparing for first match under Vrba; and Jágr reaches 700 goal mark in NHL.
The leading Czech men’s tennis player, Tomáš Berdych, has confirmed that he will play no further part in the country’s Davis Cup campaign this season. Alongside veteran Radek Štěpánek, the 28-year-old had led the Czechs to back-to-back wins in the competition last year and in 2012, a first for the country. What’s more, he had only missed two Davis Cup ties since 2003. But, after months of speculation about his future with the team, Berdych said on Sunday that his own career had to take priority – at least for the time being.
“I want to try out this change and to see whether it has a positive influence. The weeks when the Davis Cup is on you can save energy; we’ll see whether I can use that time properly and effectively, and whether it brings the desired benefits and I can improve and go further.”
Berdych was speaking after defeat to Roger Federer in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships. He had taken the first set but eventually lost 6-3 4-6 3-6 to the Swiss. Nevertheless, Berdych’s run to the final has seen him rise to fifth in the world rankings, a career high he had previously reached last summer.
Meanwhile, Klára Zakopalová has won her first tournament on the women’s tour in eight and a half years. The 32-year-old defeated Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 4-6 7-5 6-0 in the Brasil Cup in the city of Florianopolis on Sunday for the third title of her career.
Sparta remain five points in front in the Czech soccer league after a 2:1 away victory over Bohemians 1905 in a Prague derby on Saturday. Bohemians are bottom of the table but gave the leaders a run for their money until captain David Lafata broke the deadlock with his side’s second goal on 72 minutes. Lafata said the result was important in maintaining Sparta’s healthy lead over second-placed Viktoria Plzeň prior to their meeting in the capital next Sunday.
“Bohemians are fighting to stay up and don’t give up easily. We wanted three points and we’ve taken three points, but we shouldn’t overestimate the importance of the victory. More than anything, it means we can prepare for the Plzeň game more calmly.”
The Czech national side are set to play their first game under Pavel Vrba, a friendly against Norway, in Prague on Wednesday. There is a good deal of excitement about the new manager, who is expected to deliver free-flowing football.
Ice hockey legend Jaromír Jágr has reached yet another career milestone, scoring his 700th goal in the NHL in New Jersey’s 6:1 defeat of New York Islanders on Saturday. The Czech, 42, is only the seventh player in the history of the league to reach the 700-goal mark.