In the last few days the Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidisova has made a splash on the world stage for the first time. On Sunday the 17-year-old beat world number one Amelie Mauresmo at the French Open, in her first ever Grand Slam fourth round match. She has now reached the semi-finals after victory over Venus Williams on Tuesday. But what is her background? And what does the future hold for the latest Czech women's tennis sensation?
The Czech Republic's 23-man football squad have just left for Germany ahead of the biggest sporting event of the year, the World Cup. But while the team have qualified for the competition for the first time since the foundation of the Czech Republic, not a single Czech referee or assistant will be officiating in Germany. Dagmar Damkova is one of the country's leading referees - I asked her if it was harder for refs from small states to reach the top.
In Sports News: the rising Czech tennis star Nicole Vaidisova takes her biggest scalp to date at the French Open; Tomas Berdych loses to Roger Federer in Paris; the Czech team win their last friendly before leaving for the World Cup on Tuesday; and decathlete Roman Sebrle comes first at a meeting in France.
In Sports News: the Czech Republic beat a physical Saudi Arabia side 2:0 in a World Cup warm-up; Karel Poborsky's Ceske Budejovice win promotion to the Czech first division; Nicole Vaidisova and Martina Navratilova win prizes in Strasbourg; and Roman Sebrle is forced to pull out of a meeting in Austria.
According to the BBC, a Bavarian company producing the mascot for the upcoming football World Cup has gone bankrupt, with reports saying demand for the product - a lion named 'Goleo' dressed in football gear - has been weak. The BBC speculated in an article recently that the lion as symbol had little relevance in Germany (which favours the eagle) but pointed out that three lions were the symbol of Germany's traditional football rivals, England. But England is not the only country in the competition with the lion as its symbol. The Czech Republic
The Czech football team are currently at a training camp in Seefeld in the Austrian Tyrol. Pavel Nedved, Jan Koller and Co. are preparing for the World Cup in Germany, where they will play their first game against the USA on June 12th. Just before they left Prague, I spoke to the Czech Republic and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech; I began by asking him about the form of the Czech players, several of whom have been injured in recent months.
In Sports News: the Czech ice hockey team come second in the World Championships in Riga, a result being seen by many as a real achievement for a young team; Dominik Hasek is keen to continue at Ottawa; Radek Stepanek loses in an ATP final but rises to a career-best 11 in the world rankings; and as the World Cup draws near Milan Baros says he is unworried that a number of Czech footballers had seasons they will want to forget.
Back home in Canada, popular mythology holds that hockey brings people together. Tim Hortons, a ubiquitous chain of coffee shops and a virtual Canadian icon, was probably the first to popularize this message in countless television commercials showing wives and husbands, fathers and sons bonding around the rink over large double-doubles. After all, hockey is our number one national pastime.
In Sports News: the Czech ice hockey team have secured a place in the last eight at the World Championships after an impressive win over Canada; the last weekend of the Czech football league is mired in controversy, as Mlada Boleslav reach the Champions League and Plzen narrowly avoid relegation; Karel Bruckner announces the Czech squad for the World Cup; Robin Vik wins tennis's Prague Open; and Kenyan-born runner Hasan Mubarak Shami wins the Prague Marathon.