The last hurrah of H+H. “We were most successful when we played together,” said Sestini Hlaváčková
Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká played their final competitive match together on Thursday evening in the quarterfinals of the Livesport Prague Open. After their 2:0 loss to Miyu Kato and Samantha Murray, the pair reminisced about their successful career together and travelling the world to play at tournaments. “We were most successful when we played together, it wasn’t the same after,” said Sestini Hlaváčková with a smile.
Thursday evening, on the centre court of
the Sparta Prague Tennis Club grounds will forever be the place and time they
played their last competitive match together.
“I am really happy that we finished the match at dusk. Yes, we lost, but we finish with a feeling we played well. On Monday we started the tournament with a wonderful performance and today we wrapped things up. I would once again like to thank Lucie for making time to join me for this tournament,” said Sestini Hlaváčková, who put a full stop behind her successful career with Thursday’s match.
“I think we played some really good tennis,” started Hradecká, “I am so glad I got to play with Andy again and I think we both really enjoyed it.” Unlike Sestini Hlaváčková, this is only a mid-season stop for Lucie Hradecká who is off to North America for further tournaments.
“I feel good I have to say. My body feels good which is important because now the season moves over to hard courts in North America. I hope Andy’s hand gets better, but she won’t be playing too much these days,” said Hradecká with a smile.
Despite ending her professional career, Sestini Hlaváčková won’t be putting her tennis racket away anytime soon: “On Monday I have three training sessions with fans that I didn’t do in June and July. I’m going to be out on the courts more than I would like,” she said with a smirk.
They remember us, it’s a nice feeling
The quarterfinals of the Livesport Prague Open were the last time popular doubles pair H+H played together. Despite losing the match 3:6 and 1:6 after 54 minutes, it was a pleasant ending to a fantastic career together that started in 2008.
“To see people who remember us was fantastic, it was a really nice feeling. It brought back all these memories of playing together over the years,” said Sestini Hlaváčková.
Between 2008 and 2016, Sestini Hlaváčková and Hradecká played nearly 200 matches together. They won 13 WTA titles, including Grand Slam titles at the French Open and the US Open. In 2012 and 2014 they were together when they won the Fed Cup and won silver medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“We’ve played so many matches and tournaments together, it’s hard to pick a career highlight right now,” said Hradecká, “Grand Slams and the Olympic Games are for sure some of the biggest for tennis players, but I also really enjoyed the smaller tournaments that helped us rise the tennis ranks.”
Olympic medal as a career highlight
“Everybody followed us during the three years when we were the most successful, but the four years we spent playing together before then, perfecting our play individually and together, it was just us. I really like going back to those times in my thoughts,” said Sestini Hlaváčková.
“Winning an Olympic medal is definitely the
highlight for me. When you tell someone who doesn’t follow tennis that you won
an Olympic medal, their jaw drops,” said Sestini Hlaváčková remembering their
phenomenal run to the final of the London 2012 Women’s Doubles where they were
only beaten by the Williams sisters.
“What we achieved between 2011 and 2013 was incredible. I played with many players after that, but it never was quite like playing with Lucie,” she added.
The last thing remaining for Sestini Hlaváčková is her farewell on the centre court on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to the farewell, I’ll be smiling at everyone, there might even be a few tears,” she admitted, “I also heard that I have to prepare a speech!”
“The only thing I’m sad about is that Lucie has to leave before then and won’t be there or at the party after,” she concluded.
Photo: LIVESPORT PRAGUE OPEN / Pavel Lebeda (sport-pics.cz)