Brenda Fruhvirtova — navigating business and WTA Tour’s age-restriction rules like a seasoned professional

March 09, 2023 12:29 am | Updated 10:34 am IST - BENGALURU:

Powerful: Fifteen-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova has made a remarkable start to her professional career. 

Powerful: Fifteen-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova has made a remarkable start to her professional career.  | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Brenda Fruhvirtova is all of 15, but on court, she handles business like a seasoned professional. In the round-of-32 of the KPB Trust ITF Women’s Open at the KSLTA Stadium here on Wednesday, Brenda was ruthless in a 6-1, 6-0 win over Lee Ya-hsuan.

A strong baseliner, Brenda’s powerful groundstrokes flattened Ya-hsuan. The Czech Republic teenager has made a remarkable start to her professional career. Earlier this year, Brenda became the fifth youngest player to qualify for the Australian Open women’s singles main draw. This monumental achievement came on the back of a stellar 2022, when Brenda won eight ITF singles titles.

Brenda is the younger sister of Linda Fruhvirtova, the 2022 WTA Chennai Open champion.

In an ideal world, Brenda would have liked to travel and compete in tournaments alongside Linda, but the WTA Tour’s age restriction makes it difficult to do so. The rules state that 15-year-olds can only play up to 10 professional events, and an additional four events based on performance. This is in fact Brenda’s first tournament appearance since her first-round exit at the Australian Open almost two months ago.

The restrictions, which in effect bars players from playing the full schedule until they are 18, were put in place to prevent early burnout.

In the case of the Fruhvirtova sisters, this makes for tricky tournament scheduling. The family, which includes mother Martina and father Hynek, does not spend much time together. Hynek travels with Linda (World No. 53), while Martina accompanies Brenda (World No. 163) to tournaments.

“It is difficult to plan the tournament schedule. In order to stay high in the ranking, you must plan smart. There is big pressure on the whole family, as we cannot travel together for the same tournaments. The goal is for Brenda to stay close to Linda in the rankings, so that they can at least sometimes travel together for tournaments,” Martina told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

The pressure is on Brenda to perform well every time she steps on court. Brenda, the top-seed here, relied on sister Linda to give her a few tips on how to succeed in India. “I spoke to Linda before coming here. But Chennai is different to Bengaluru. Chennai is humid, while Bengaluru is hot and dry. It’s good to be here and get the first round win under my belt,” Brenda said.

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