The coaching carousel in pro tennis has been picking up speed for years, but the frequent turnover generally involves low-drama transactions—a player fell a few spots in the rankings and wants to change tracks, for example. But this week, world No. 25 Barbora Strýcová accused her countrywoman and world No. 3 Karolina Pliskova of going behind her back to get her coach Tomáš Krupa.
“I would not use the word ‘friend’ in relation to Karolina,” Strycova said, according to Czech website iDNES.cz, via Google Translate. “Our relationship is zero. When she told me she was interested in my trainer, her manager, Mr. [Michal] Hrdlička, was already with him. It was born behind my back.”
Strycova said she found out about the decision over text. “Tomáš is not my property, but I did not deserve this kind of communication,” she said according to the site. She also posted a lengthy statement, in Czech, on Facebook. An excerpt:
“My coach texted me and called me that he cannot keep working with me because he accepted the offer. I was very sad. Especially because of the way I learned it. ... I get that Karolina wants him because he’s a good coach. I did not understand the way I got into this from one hour to the next, and I was sorry that coach didn’t stay with me.”
Hrdlička, who is also Pliskova’s fiancé, was asked about the coaching change in Singapore, where the WTA Finals, the prestigious year-end tournament for top-ranked players, will begin this weekend.
“It is not on the agenda to comment on this, Karolina is preparing for the summit of the season,” he said according to iDNES.cz. “Perhaps it was all right. We contacted Tomas Krupa, and he had no commitment for the following year. Karolina told Barbora, eye-to-eye. That’s what I think is correct.”
Krupa, a former pro, coached Tomas Berdych from 2009 to 2014 and has also worked with Jiří Veselý and Radek Štěpánek.