started playing in 1993, was No. 1 in doubles and said goodbye with a bang

On April 27, 1993, a plane crashed near Libreville, the capital of Gabon. This plane was taking the Zambian team to Dakar to play against Senegal for the World Cup qualifiers in the United States. This day of aquel año en el que pasaron muchísimas cosas -desde la primera emisión de Cartoon Network en América Latina hasta el indeleble 5-0 de Colombia a la Selección del Coco Basile- empezó a escribirse un historie que mere ser contada y que acaba de to finish. The story of Kveta Peschke.

This April 27, three days before the brutal attack that Monica Seles suffered and shocked tennis, a 17-year-old girl named Kveta Hrdlickova. In her debut, on the brick dust of Taranto, Italy, she beat Finland’s Nanne Tenhovuori, then 23, 7-5, 6-3. It was the first game in a 29-season career that ended on Thursday. The teenager has grown into a 46-year-old woman. She is no longer Hrdlickova, but Peschke, having adopted the surname of her husband and trainer, Torsten, whom she married in 2003 in Berlin, one of her places in the world.

Peschke’s long and successful adventure ended with a defeat in the doubles tournament played in Charleston, in the southern United States, on a green clay court less and less seen on the professional circuit. There he lost by a 6-3 brace in a knockout round clash. He played as a couple with the Slovak Tereza Mihaikova, just 23 years old. Their winners were Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich (28) and Kazakh Anna Danilina (26).

left behind a career as long as it is incredible, which includes a Grand Slam title when she won the Wimbledon doubles tournament in 2011 alongside Katarina Srebotnik. With the Slovenian, she established a successful partnership, which between 2010 and 2012 reached 20 finals, of which they won 9. Meanwhile, in 2011, she won the Fed Cup with the Czech Republic, the Women’s Davis Cup and was the best double. player on the circuit.

Peschke – although in reality she was still Hrdlickova – started competing on the ITF Tour in 1991. In 1993 she played her first two WTA tournaments with professionals on the other side of the net. That of Taranto, on the shores of the Ionian Sea, where he shared a draw with the Argentines María José Gaidano and Inés Gorrochategui and lost in the second round against the Dutch Brenda Schultz, and six months later in Budapest , where he lost in the first round to Zina Garrison, the American who at the time, already approaching 30, was among the best on the circuit.

From there, it never stopped. Until Thursday, the day of the stoppage and strong emotions, he had won a total of 37 trophies (1 in singles and 36 in doubles). Between his first and his last title there is a difference of 23 years. She won the singles tournament in Makarska, in 1998, when she broke into the top 100. And she celebrated for the last time last year when she won the doubles tournament in Chicago in a duet with the German Andrea Petkovic. Impressive.

Kveta Peschke and Andrea Petkovic with the title they won at the WTA 500 in Chicago in 2021.

As a singles player, as you can see, it cost him a lot more. Among his Grand Slam successes, where he reached an 18-26 record, are the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2005. He did not go beyond the 3rd round in Australia (2000) and Roland Garros (1999 and 2000 ) and as far as the US Open is concerned, it was the second round (1998 and 2000). His highest ranking was achieved in October 2005 when he became 26th in the world.

In 2005, back in doubles, he won with Argentina’s Gisela Dulko in Tier II (Premier 5) after beating the Spanish pair of Conchita Martínez and Virginia Ruano. Later, the Tigress, in duet with the Italian Flavia Pennetta, won the finals in Stuttgart, Montreal and the Tour Championship 2010.

Italian Flavia Pennetta (right) and Argentina's Gisela Dulko (2 right) after beating Czech Kveta Peschke (left) and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik (2 left) in the final of the Tour Championship 2010. Photo: EFE

Italian Flavia Pennetta (right) and Argentina’s Gisela Dulko (2 right) after beating Czech Kveta Peschke (left) and Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik (2 left) in the final of the Tour Championship 2010. Photo: EFE

With two operations on her left knee – the first in 2003 – the Czech’s goal has always been the same: to enjoy tennis. And it looks like he did.

When the ranking started, it was led by Germany’s Steffi Graf and had Argentina’s Gabriela Sabatini as one of the cheerleaders – she started the ’93 season as the third on the planet and finished it without titles, but fifth. Now, 29 seasons later, the world number one is Iga Swiatek. The Pole was born on May 31, 2001. Peschke, at that time, had been playing rackets at the highest level for eight years.

Now far from endless plane rides, airports and tournaments, Peschke will have time to watch again and again the films of Christopher Reeve, his favorite actor, or his beloved musicals like Mamma Mia. It is said, in his bio read on the official WTA Tour website, that he likes happy endings. And it seems that Kveta is close to one of these fairy tales. Only instead of the stick there is a racket. And a unique story.

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