Umag, Croatia, ATP 250, Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, 524 340 euro, clay, outdoor: Doubles, 1R,  Igor ZELENAY (SVK)/Denys MOLCHANOV (UKR) - Pablo ANDUJAR / Gerard GRANOLLERS (ESP) 6-2 6-2, QF: Antonio SANCIC / Nino SERDARUSIC (CRO) 6-3 4-6 10-2, SF: Robin HAASE (NED) / Philipp OSWALD (AUT) 5-7 6-1 8-10; San Benedetto, Italy, ATP challenger, SAN BENEDETTO TENNIS CUP , €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Andrej MARTIN (SVK) - BYE, 2R: Jeroen VANNESTE (BEL) 6-2 6-4, 3R: Alexandre MULLER (FRA) 6-3 6-2, QF: Oriol ROCA BATALLA (ESP) 6-4 7-5, SF: ?-?; Piestany, Slovakia, ITF World Tennis Tour, M15 Piestany, 15 000 USD, clay, outdoor: 1R, Artem DUBRIVNYY (RUS) [4] - Yvo PANAK (CZE) 6-1 6-4, 2R: Oleksii KRUTYKH (UKR) 6-2 6-2, QF: Vladislav MELNIC (ROU) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4, SF: Fabian MAROZSAN (HUN) 7-5 3-6 1-6; Baja, Hungary, ITF World Tennis Tour, Baja Ladies Open, clay, outdoor: 1R, Vivien JUHASZOVA (SVK) - Draginja VUKOVIC (SRB) 6-3 6-2, 2R: Darya ASTAKHOVA (RUS) 6-1 6-2, QF: Dalma GALFI (HUN) 4-6 0-6; Doubles, 1R, JUHASZOVA/Lina GJORCHESKA (MKD) [3]  - Dorka DRAHOTA SZABO (HUN) / Adrienn NAGY (HUN) 6-1 6-4, QF: Petia ARSHINKOVA (BUL) / Gergana TOPALOVA (BUL) 6-1 7-6(6), SF: Reka-Luca JANI (HUN) / Lara SALDEN (BEL) [1] 4-6 3-6; Dolany - Veska, Czech Republic, junior ITF, ITF Veska 2019, Grade 4, clay, outdoor: 1R, Radka ZELNICKOVA (SVK) [8]  - BYE, 2R: Tereza DEJNOZKOVA (CZE) 7-5 6-0, 3R: Katerina GYGALOVA (CZE) 2-6 6-2 6-2, QF: Katerina MANDELIKOVA (CZE) [1] 3-6 6-1 6-3, SF: Julie STRUPLOVA (CZE) 6-2 6-2, F: Dominika SALKOVA (CZE) WALKOVER, ZELNICKOVA WON THE TITLE!, Amersfoort, Netherlands, ATP challenger, Van Mossel Dutch Open, €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Uladzimir IGNATIK (BLR)  - BYE, 2R: Tim VAN RIJTHOVEN (NED) 6-4 6-4, 3R: Blaz ROLA (SLO) 4-6 6-4 0-6.

Umag, Croatia, ATP 250, Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, 524 340 euro, clay, outdoor: Doubles, 1R,  Igor ZELENAY (SVK)/Denys MOLCHANOV (UKR) - Pablo ANDUJAR / Gerard GRANOLLERS (ESP) 6-2 6-2, QF: Antonio SANCIC / Nino SERDARUSIC (CRO) 6-3 4-6 10-2, SF: Robin HAASE (NED) / Philipp OSWALD (AUT) 5-7 6-1 8-10; San Benedetto, Italy, ATP challenger, SAN BENEDETTO TENNIS CUP , €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Andrej MARTIN (SVK) - BYE, 2R: Jeroen VANNESTE (BEL) 6-2 6-4, 3R: Alexandre MULLER (FRA) 6-3 6-2, QF: Oriol ROCA BATALLA (ESP) 6-4 7-5, SF: ?-?; Piestany, Slovakia, ITF World Tennis Tour, M15 Piestany, 15 000 USD, clay, outdoor: 1R, Artem DUBRIVNYY (RUS) [4] - Yvo PANAK (CZE) 6-1 6-4, 2R: Oleksii KRUTYKH (UKR) 6-2 6-2, QF: Vladislav MELNIC (ROU) 6-7(5) 6-4 6-4, SF: Fabian MAROZSAN (HUN) 7-5 3-6 1-6; Baja, Hungary, ITF World Tennis Tour, Baja Ladies Open, clay, outdoor: 1R, Vivien JUHASZOVA (SVK) - Draginja VUKOVIC (SRB) 6-3 6-2, 2R: Darya ASTAKHOVA (RUS) 6-1 6-2, QF: Dalma GALFI (HUN) 4-6 0-6; Doubles, 1R, JUHASZOVA/Lina GJORCHESKA (MKD) [3]  - Dorka DRAHOTA SZABO (HUN) / Adrienn NAGY (HUN) 6-1 6-4, QF: Petia ARSHINKOVA (BUL) / Gergana TOPALOVA (BUL) 6-1 7-6(6), SF: Reka-Luca JANI (HUN) / Lara SALDEN (BEL) [1] 4-6 3-6; Dolany - Veska, Czech Republic, junior ITF, ITF Veska 2019, Grade 4, clay, outdoor: 1R, Radka ZELNICKOVA (SVK) [8]  - BYE, 2R: Tereza DEJNOZKOVA (CZE) 7-5 6-0, 3R: Katerina GYGALOVA (CZE) 2-6 6-2 6-2, QF: Katerina MANDELIKOVA (CZE) [1] 3-6 6-1 6-3, SF: Julie STRUPLOVA (CZE) 6-2 6-2, F: Dominika SALKOVA (CZE) WALKOVER, ZELNICKOVA WON THE TITLE!, Amersfoort, Netherlands, ATP challenger, Van Mossel Dutch Open, €46,600 + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Uladzimir IGNATIK (BLR)  - BYE, 2R: Tim VAN RIJTHOVEN (NED) 6-4 6-4, 3R: Blaz ROLA (SLO) 4-6 6-4 0-6.

Francesca Feodorov from Romania has moved to Trnava because of the Academy: Place to improve my game

"Now Trnava is my home - I am live here for most of the time, except the time when I am out for tournaments," told us 15-years old Francesca Andrea Feodorov who is from the town of Constanta in Romania. She doesn't have plans to travel there yet – her parents are in Trnava as well as her cat Bambi, so she keeps enjoying living in Slovakia. The place where she can improve her game…

Why have you come to Trnava and who told you about the Academy?
"Two years ago, I have visited Trnava for the first time when I came to play a tournament here at TC EMPIRE. My ex-coach, who travelled with me, suggested that I should come to train here. He visited Trnava a few times in the past, and he assures me that this establishment – The EMPIRE Tennis Academy - is the place to move to if I want to improve my game. My short-term goal was to change my forehand grip, so I decided together with my parents to take a trip to Trnava and to spend a few months as a trial period, to improve my forehand. After spending the first three months at the Academy, I understood that I have so much more to learn and I decided to remain here longer."

Why is it a good place for your trainings and preparation?
"This is the right place for me to train because the environment is perfect: a team of enthusiastic and talented coaches, numerous high-level players with whom I can practice and compete. And challenging sparring partners and a great facility with excellent outdoor and indoor courts."

How was the fitness camp with coach Kristian Cupak for you? Hard one?
"The fitness camp had some tough days of intense fitness combined with more relaxed and joyful days when we played basket, football or Frisbee. Kristian Cupak was always making sure that we are in excellent physical shape and not at risk of injury. Initially, I was a little bit afraid that the camp is going to be a painful experience (I was one of the youngest in the camp), but it was an unforgettable experience - we build some strength, we tested our limits, we enjoyed the great outdoors view, and we had tons of fun."

You are working with coach Michal Brtko. What kind of coach is he and how has he helped you during the recent months?
"For me, it was a substantial advantage to work with Michal. He has got the ability to push me in the right direction. He is a contagious positive thinker, and he loves to talk. Communication is an essential aspect of my training, keeping in mind that I landed in a foreign country, without speaking or understanding a single Slovak word. Working with Michal not only improves my tennis skills, but he also managed to change my mental approach towards the game."

What do you like about the club the most?
"I like the indoor courts a lot, especially when it is cold outside, and I can play without being afraid to get a cold or to get injured playing outdoor. I also like the fact that I am working with more coaches (each of them trying to improve different aspects of my game) and I practice with better opponents every day. In Romania, I lacked good sparring partners, and I was living with the false feeling that I am mastering this game. Here, at TC EMPIRE, I understand that I am just at the beginning of my journey and I have a lot to learn." 

How important is for you your mother who is accompanying you here? Has she ever played tennis or other sports?
"My mom is the person who believed in me (even more than I do) ever since I started playing tennis. She is the most positive, inspiring and important person in my life, always staying by my side no matter what; she was there at my best and worse and never stopped supporting me. She is the best role model and mother I could ask for, and I am so thankful for her unconditional support. She has never played any sport at the professional level, but she practiced some team games during her college time."

What do you like about the town of Trnava?
"Trnava is a small town, very clean, with kind people and a lot of historical buildings. What I like about Trnava is the fact that the weather here is like in Romania. The roads are good, the food is tasty, and people are friendly. Because Trnava is close to the center of Europe, I can travel by car to many tournaments nearby."

Where do you live during your stay in Trnava?
"When we have arrived in Trnava, we rented a flat in one of the tallest building of the city. Once we decided to remain longer, we rented a house not far from the Academy - this is my new home now. A major reason for renting the house was Bambi – my lovely cat. She was used to living in a house and playing in the garden, so to make her happy here in Trnava, we decided to rent a house. Now Bambi is satisfied with her new place, but she is still missing the Romanian environment, where you find cats at every corner of the street."

Who is your regular sparring partner in the club?
"My regular sparring partner is usually coach Michal Brtko. I don't have a permanent sparring even though I practice with other players frequently."

What do you think about the new facilities in the new building of the Academy?
"Well, what can I say? It is Wow! The new facilities in the new building are perfect: high-quality hard courts, a big gym, a swimming pool and a wellness center. I am very excited to see the opening of the new facility and looking forward to enjoying the wellness center and the spa."

Did you tell other players from Romania about the EMPIRE Tennis Academy? Maybe also inviting them here?
"All my Romanian friends and my former classmates were curious to find details about my new life in Slovakia. They were happy to see me happy, but they were extremely curious to understand how I can manage the school and tennis. Since I don't speak Slovak yet, I decided to attend an online course. The online school was something new for most of my friends and playing into a tennis academy was something new for most of my colleagues from my former tennis club. I did a lot of advertising among Romanian tennis players for EMPIRE Tennis Academy because I genuinely believe this is the place where an aspiring professional tennis player may cement his foundation. Some of my colleagues from the Romanian national junior team already took part in the tournaments organized here at EMPIRE, and some of them are planning to visit me during their next vacation."

How often do you go to home; do you have time for this? When will you travel home next?
"How often do I go home? Now Trnava is my home - I live here most of the time, except the times when I am out for tournaments. In the past year I only I reached my hometown, Constanta, once. I have been to Romania a few times, but my trips were limited to attending a tournament and returning to Trnava. I don't have plans to travel to Constant yet - Bambi is here with me in Trnava, my parents are here as well, so I keep enjoying life in Slovakia."

How important was it for you to be in the final of Luzern ITF tournament where coach Brtko was also with you…?
"Being in the final of the Luzern ITF has been the greatest result of my career so far. It was a memorable experience. I played well during the entire tournament, and I need to thank Michal for helping me out with drawing the perfect tactic plan before each game. Whatever we planned, it worked. I felt excellent on the court both physically and mentally. The organization of the tournament was amazing, and I am proud of the results, even though my goals grew a lot now. My weakness is my self-belief. Tennis is a mental game, and I need to work harder to gain more confidence in winning the battle. Reaching the final of a strong ITF tournament means a lot to me - now I understand that I am on the correct path and one day my dreams may come true."

WORD OF COACH BRTKO

And how does their cooperation go? "She is doing very well, because she loves to play tennis. She is a hardworking and intelligent girl, who has no problem with training. But she is still sometimes stubborn and quiet, and she needs to be more self-confident. For that reason, it is very positive, she advanced in Luzern to the final game," said Francesca Andrea Feodorov's coach. 
 

Photos by: 
Milan Hutera, www.empire-tennis-academy.com
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