Officially starting with the article number one, I will stop the time for a while and look back at the last 12 months. First World Championships, world ranking career high, new limits discovered, finding of how to be the best version of myself and other highlights are concluded just below.
Let's do a bit of a math at the beginning to give a numerical overview of the year 2018…
- 15 international tournaments
- 10 team matches in Denmark
- 3 team matches in Czech Republic
- Slovak National Championships
Summing up, in the year 2018 I spent more than a half of the weekends, 29 out of 52, at tournaments in 15 different countries on 4 different continents!
Do you want to know some more numbers? So, the total amount of matches played last year (singles, doubles and mix doubles) was equal to 83, out of which 48 were singles with a positive win:loss statistics 30:18.
...here's a quick challenge - can you name all the 15 countries where I played last year?
What about the world ranking?
I would like to reflect on both, good and bad sides when looking at the world ranking. The brightest thing was reaching my best career high (81. place) on April 5th, which in the Slovak badminton history is so far the world highest women´s singles rank achieved. Another positive thing to mention is that I managed to stay in the “top 100” during the whole year. However, I also have my critical eyes that see a straight non-growing curve which I want to turn upwards very soon.
Those 365 days were literally crazy. A lot of things happened on and off the badminton court. Let's take it month by month. Starting the year slowly by mainly focusing on technical development on court, playing 3 rounds of team matches and finishing the 5th semester at the University. That was it for January. In mid-February, I've got an unforgettable opportunity to play against the best women singles player, Carolina Marin from Spain, the Olympic Champion, 3# World Champion and 4# European Champion, in Russia at the European Women's Team Championships (Uber Cup). “After this match I learned that playing against the top players positively affects the motivation and it gives an incentive to work harder.”
March has been exotic. Quarterfinals in Jamaica, semifinals in Brazil. Gain of new experience by playing in hot conditions. At this trip I actually learned myself an extremely important lesson; that “confidence and positive mind”, especially in the end of the close games, are crucial and very often the deciding factors. Applying this new knowledge on the next tournament in France resulted in a good win over an Indian player and a solid performance against a higher ranked Indonesian player.
April had some ups and downs. A tournament in Finland where I lost against the top seed from Turkey in the first round, and the last tournament of the season, European Championships held in Spain where I aimed to show my best level, didn't really go as expected. Although looking at the bright side, me and my partner Milan made it into the top 16 pairs in mixed doubles in Europe. Also, as mentioned above, my ranking has reached a new peak.
Great news showed up in May! For the first time, I have qualified for the World Championships, the most prestigious event of the year, and made one of my big dreams come true. Throwback to the emotions of excitement at that time: “…Now I can proudly say that these past years spent in Denmark, far away from family and friends, have just paid off. All the hard work and sweat on a daily basis, all the travelling around the world and all the sacrifices were definitely worth it…” (Instagram post, May 16th).
A very tough period of 12 weeks was scheduled. Train, eat & sleep. Twice a day. The level of motivation and dedication was literally crossing the border and tiredness became my everyday friend. Life was perfect. And besides doing the thing I love the most, in June I have also successfully finished a 3-year Bachelor program and got the degree in Economics and Business Administration at the Southern University of Denmark. And then after all this, I was finally on the plane to Nanjing, China, to play the Worlds. It was huge and awesome! Playing in that enormous arena, seeing all the best players and “learning” every minute…the collection of experiences grew rapidly.
August had continued to be a training month before the new season kicked off. Thereafter, I jumped on a tournament roller coaster in September, kept riding in October and November, and jumped down later in December. This extremely busy period consisted of 8 international tournaments, 8 team matches and Slovak National Championships.
The highlights were the 3rd place at Norwegian International, quarterfinals at Kharkiv International (Ukraine), winning the title number five in a row at the Nationals and in general, a stable long-term performance achieved. Moreover, the status of being a student has not faded out yet as I started the Master program in International Business and Management at the same University in Odense.
As a conclusion, the year 2018 was successful. Definitely looking back at the last 12 months positively as I reached new limits and found how to be the best version of myself. Besides that, feeling a technical and physical improvement on court, development of a strong mindset, being able to recognize when to pause and have a small break for a recharge, and discovery of how to learn from mistakes and losses. All in all, I'm giving myself a self-high-five! New year has started now and it will bring new and greater challenges.
I hope you all enjoyed reading and I hope you'll keep following more articles and stories in the future. The next one is coming up very soon and it will give an insight into “the other life than badminton.” Stay tuned!
Now, going back to work hard so that the year 2019 will be better, or at least as good as the last year.