The career of Czech women’s tennis number one Nicole Vaidišová remains in crisis, after she lost 6-7 1-6 to fellow Czech Iveta Benešová in the first round of the French Open on Sunday. That is the fifth tournament in a row in which the 19-year-old has exited in the first round; she has not won a match since the beginning of March, and several commentators have suggested she is carrying too many kilos. Vaidišová says, however, that she is confident results will start going her way once she has spent more time with new coach David Felgate; she hooked up with him after parting company with her step-father Aleš Kodat earlier this year.
The Czech national football squad are preparing for Euro 2008 warm-up games against Lithuania on Tuesday and Scotland on Friday, with both of those matches taking place in Prague. On Saturday, the Czech team beat Austrian third-division outfit St Andra 5:1 at a training camp; all five Czech goals were scored by strikers, which will be encouraging for coach Karel Bruckner, though question marks remain over the team’s midfield. Bruckner is trying to solve the question of how to play without the injured Tomáš Rosický, and appears ready to experiment with a 4-5-1 formation, possibly with Jan Koller on his own up front and Milan Baroš rather out of position on the right side of midfield.
Another question is who will wear the captain’s armband in Rosický’s absence. Both goalkeeper Petr Čech and defender Tomáš Ujfaluši are vice-captains – the latter has suggested the two could alternate in the role. Meanwhile, the final 23-man squad for the European Championship will be announced on Wednesday. The Czechs take part in the opening game against co-hosts Switzerland on June 7.
On the domestic front, Vítězslav Lavička looks set to take the hottest seat in Czech league football – the manager’s job at Sparta Prague. Lavička won four league titles as assistant manager at Sparta, and some years later briefly held the top job. The big-money club’s most recent boss Michal Bílek quit with just two games of the season remaining, after his charges squandered a promising lead in the race for the Czech league title.
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