In Sports News: Tennis player Tomáš Berdych will return for the Czech Republic’s opening Davis Cup round against Kazakhstan; in hockey, Plzeň lose their best-of-five preliminary round playoff series against Litvínov, while Karlovy Vary force a decider against Slavia; the spring season opens in football with Jablonec’s David Lafata scoring a hat-trick against Liberec; in the English Premier League, Birmingham – with Czech defender Jiránek – triumph over Arsenal to win the Carling Cup.
In Sports News: speed skater Martina Sáblíková breaks her own world record in the women’s 5,000 metres; for first time in four efforts Záhrobská fails to win medal in Alpine World Cup Skiing Championships; Czech hockey clubs gear up for the playoffs; in the NHL, hockey forward Patrik Eliáš racks up milestone 800 pts; football’s Skácel scores 9th goal of season for Edinburgh; Petr Čech’s Chelsea are knocked out of FA Cup.
On Thursday night the Czech Republic’s most successful soccer club, Sparta Prague, played host to England's most successful club, Liverpool. There had been a huge amount of media coverage in the week leading up to Liverpool’s first appearance in the Czech capital, with the Reds’ visit dominating the sports pages. However, in the end the Europa League tie proved to be something of a damp squib, ending in a scoreless draw. Ian Willoughby was at Thursday’s match.
Promoters in the Czech capital on Wednesday confirmed that boxing legend Mike Tyson will visit Prague next month – unlike a failed project put together by different organisers last autumn. The former world heavyweight champion will take part in a whirlwind tour that will include an appearance at the gala event Heroes’ Gate 3 and visit a hospital to help raise money for sick children.
It was billed as a preparatory game for the big one against world and European champions Spain in just over a month, but this was the sort of preparation that the Czech football team could have done without. They went down 2:4 in a friendly against Croatia with the home side putting a record tally of goals into the Czech net.
In Sports News this Monday: Zdeněk Štybar defends his world cyclo-cross tite; Tomáš Verner takes bronze at the European Figure Skating Championships; in tennis, Jiří Veselý wins the junior boys’ singles at the Australian Open, and in football, Sparta’s Ivory Coast striker Bony Wilfried joins the Dutch club Arnhem.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych played in the quarterfinal match at the Australian Open on Tuesday, the furthest the sixth-seeded player has ever gotten in the Grand Slam tournament. But if he had played well so far, he hit a wall in the form of Serbian opponent Novak Djokovic at the Rod Laver arena in Melbourne.