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December 31, 2022

Jiri Vanek

Marie Bouzkova

Jiri Lehecka

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Team Czech Republic

Press Conference

Czech Republic - 2

Germany - 0

THE MODERATOR: Well done, Team Czech Republic. Let's start with some remarks from the captain on the performances today.

CAPTAIN VANEK: Hello, everybody. How to start? I start with Jiri. Was just great match for him today. So happy for him because he's young player and he needs a lot of these matches, how to say, not to improve his career but to go up. He can see like even with Taylor, Sascha, play great match. I'm happy that he passed this match.

If he stay like this, he has big game, he can still go up and up and he can beat everybody in the world.

JIRI LEHECKA: Thank you, captain.

CAPTAIN VANEK: Then with Marie, the same. I'm happy for her. She was fighting like hell today. She was playing the best solution with Jule because Jule is going for winners. Marie needs to run a lot today, put every ball back.

I'm happy that after lose from two match points for 5-All that she was still strong and she still was there in the match, then she close it to the second set. Third set is going to be much tougher.

Well done, Marie.

MARIE BOUZKOVA: Thank you (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Jiri, how do you reset and try to build on last year in Milan? Is it pressure to build that?

JIRI LEHECKA: Yeah, I mean, as you said, Milan was a great experience for me. Honestly I play there a couple of great matches. In semifinal I played one of the best tennis in my life, honestly. For me, this tournament was something that I will be remembering, for sure. I will never forget that week.

But for sure, I mean, it was something like another milestone for me. I showed myself how I'm able to play, what my future tennis game should look like.

I think that here in Australia, from the beginning, I mean, we have great team spirit, everyone supporting each other. It's much more easy to work in these kind of, like, conditions.

So, yeah, we all are trying to improve step by step. For me to come here, to have the chance to play United Cup with this fantastic team is something that I was really happy for.

As I said before, I mean, we put a lot of work before flying here to Sydney. I think it's starting to paying off. But, of course, we will see in next few days, months. We will see, yeah.

Q. Marie, you had good success on quick courts, low-bouncing courts. Your game is very physical. What do you think makes you so comfortable on a quick surface where you can unwind these big hitters and get good success?

MARIE BOUZKOVA: Yeah, obviously it's not easy for me. But I just try to find the way because I think that's big part of my game, just trying to find the way every match basically. Obviously, I don't have the biggest weapons.

But, yeah, I think I just kind of play around with the surface as it comes. Obviously playing against a big hitter like today or even against Madison, I just kind of have to step up my game as well.

Obviously I can always kind of rely on my kind of defense, but something that I'm trying to work on now in the pre-season, basically every day, is just to go for my shots as well a little bit more, use these faster surfaces that kind of stay low.

Yeah, I can, like always, defend quite well. I think for me, like, the next step is, yeah, to just be more aggressive from my side and go for it, kind of take time away.

If this court is playing - any surface - if it's playing a little bit faster, if I'm able to as well take time away from my opponent, I think that can help me as well.

So, yeah, I think that.

Q. Big Jiri, how do you see things going for the team after three days? Bad luck yesterday, but opportunities over the next few days. What is the captain's assessment at this point?

CAPTAIN VANEK: Actually for me everything is new. Actually before we don't know each other that much. We now know each other for five, six days.

I'm really proud of our team, we stay close and have a lot of fun in the team. Like Jiri said, we have really great team spirit.

For me, like, captain, ex-professional player, for me it's important if everybody is happy in the team, if we have lot of smiles, we have lot of fun around the court. Both of the players, Petra yesterday, played great match. Even the mixed was quite exciting for us. That bring us close together. I'm just happy for that.

Q. Czech Republic has such a proud tennis history. Could you talk about how much that's inspired you.

MARIE BOUZKOVA: Yeah, obviously for being such a small country, I think it's very impressive. You know how many players were able to produce basically every year. Jiri, next generation, there's already like next, next generation behind him. It feels like every year there's new players that are coming up.

Obviously with so many players in the past as well, it's something that we always look up to. We know that they've done it before so we can kind of follow their steps. For me personally, it always inspires me that we're able to do that. It kind of motivates me as well because I just want to be maybe a little part of that history, build for whatever comes next for our country and for our sport in our country.

So, yeah, I think it's great to be part of that.

I don't know if you want to add something.

JIRI LEHECKA: Yeah, of course, I mean, Marie said it beautifully I would say. Of course, I mean, to play every competition for our country, doesn't matter whether it's Fed Cup, Davis Cup, Olympics, here United Cup, it's a privilege for us.

As I said before, you don't have these kind of experiences on tour very often that you are playing for a team. It's something different that you are playing on the court, on the tournament, only for yourself. Let's say like this.

Yeah, when we can have the fun about all of this stuff, when we can chat between the points, between the games, to have all this, of course it makes us very proud that we can be ones who let's say played the first year of United Cup.

Of course, as Marie said, if we would be doing such a good time here, doing great job, then if we will be part of the history, too, we never know. But it's our goal, for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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