In Sports News: the Czech couple Berdych and Safarova are knocked out in the first round of tennis's Hopman Cup, while newly engaged Radek Stepanek makes a losing return from injury in Adelaide; ski jumper Jakub Janda is too far behind the leader to defend his Four Hills title, while cross country great Katerina Neumannova notches up her best sprint result in two years; Juventus declare an interest in Zdenek Grygera; and Slavia beat Sparta in the annual New Year's day old boys derby.
Former world number one women's tennis star Martina Hingis is to marry
Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek. The 26-year-old Hingis confirmed
news of her engagement at a media conference at the Gold Coast on
Friday where she is preparing to play the Australian women's hardcourt
championships. Hingis said 28-year-old Stepanek, ranked 19 in the
world, had proposed to her in Prague last month but it was not until
she arrived in Australia that anyone noticed her diamond ring.
Hingis dominated women's tennis in the late 1990s before ankle and foot injuries forced her into early retirement in 2002. She took three years off before making a comeback last year, finishing the season ranked in the world's top 10.
Stepanek will make a comeback of his own at next week's Australian men's hardcourt championships in Adelaide. He reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this year but has not played since after suffering injury.
In Sports News this week: Libor Sionko scores for Glasgow Rangers while Celtic's Jiri Jarosik (heading for his fourth title in as many countries) needs stitches after a Scottish league clash; Petr Cech enjoys a rare Christmas at home in Plzen, as former Czech keeper Pavel Srnicek makes a return for Newcastle; ice hockey great Dominik Hasek puts in a brilliant performance for Detroit; and the Czech Davis Cup team will definitely be without world no. 19 Radek Stepanek.
The Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek has said he will not be making a return to the national team for a Davis Cup tie against the USA in February. Stepanek refused to play in the Czech team under previous coach Cyril Suk, but had been expected to play under current boss Jaroslav Navratil. On Friday, however, the world number 19 issued a statement saying he had decided not to return.
A special prize was presented to Jiri Novak on Saturday, at the Golden Canary awards for Czech tennis player of the year. The award was in recognition of all that Novak achieved during a long professional career, which recently came to an end when he played his last tournament, the Swiss Indoors in Basle.
In Sports News: Tomas Berdych is again named Czech tennis player of the year; the Czech volleyball team lose their first two games in the last-8 group stage at the world championships; speed skater Martina Sablikova again reaches the podium in a world cup event; cross country skier Katerina Neummanova finishes fourth in Finland; and Sparta Prague lead the Czech football league but have next to no chance of advancing in the UEFA Cup - or of signing Jan Koller.
In Sports News this week: after her best season yet, Czech women's tennis number one Nicole Vaidisova is not too disappointed about missing out on the elite WTA Tour Championship; six-time winner Karel Loprais will miss the Dakar Rally due to injury; some of the world's leading football managers are in Prague for a conference; and Slavia Prague's players are in the spotlight after chanting "death to Sparta".
Czech men's tennis star Tomas Berdych has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Masters tournament in Paris. Berdych, the eighth-seeded Czech, cruised past America's Robby Ginepri 6-3, 6-3 in just 65 minutes on Thursday afternoon. He is going to face either Britain's Andy Murray or Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia.
Czech tennis veteran Jiri Novak, once ranked fifth in the world, ended his top playing career after a second round loss at the Swiss Indoor tournament in Basel on Thursday. The 31-year old had already declared that Basel, where he won the last of his seven major singles tournaments two years ago, would be his last major competition. Novak, now 122 in the ATP rankings, has been plagued over the last year by injury problems. He still counts on playing in smaller tournaments. Jiri Novak reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2002 and was for many years the Czech number one player.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czech pop music legend Karel Gott dies at the age of 80
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott