Coach-less Pliskova set on qualifying for S'pore

TOKYO • Former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova is confident that splitting with coach David Kotyza will not be a hindrance as she attempts to go it alone over the home stretch of the season, leading up to the WTA Finals in Singapore next month.

Pliskova, who began working with Kotyza last December, won three Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles titles this season and reached the French Open semi-finals and US Open quarter-finals. But the Czech parted company with the 50-year-old last week after losing the top ranking.

The 25-year-old does not plan on hiring a replacement until next season, and will work with her father for the last few events of the year.

"Obviously I need a coach, but it's not the main thing in my team. I can play good even without a coach," she was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency ahead of her last-16 clash against Magda Linette at the Toray Pan Pacific Open today in Tokyo.

Pliskova, down to fourth in the rankings after her quarter-final exit from the US Open, said she was still hopeful of regaining top spot from Spaniard Garbine Muguruza because of how open the women's Tour is this season.

"This year, it's very open when Serena (Williams) is not there. There's a chance for everybody, every Grand Slam has had a different winner. It's very close in the top 10," she added. "For now, my main goal is to get to Singapore.

"I just want to play well and if I play well, I have a chance to get to world No. 1 again."

The top eight singles players qualify for the Oct 22-29 event in Singapore which offers US$7 million (S$9.44 million) in prize money. Muguruza has secured her spot in the showpiece tournament, while Pliskova is fourth in the Race to Singapore.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Coach-less Pliskova set on qualifying for S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe