Nicole Melichar, the 11th-ranked doubles player on tour, is this week's guest on the TENNIS.com Podcast. The Czech-born U.S. citizen has had a very successful return to the sport, winning World TeamTennis in West Virginia and a WTA title in Strasbourg and finishing runner-up at both the Western & Southern and US Opens in New York.
She also appeared in the semifinals of Roland Garros with none other than its singles champion, Iga Swiatek.
"I wanted to maybe teach her a little bit more doubles because obviously singles players, if you don’t practice doubles, it’s different," Melichar says. "But her instincts were so good I felt like it was hard for me to tell her something because she felt the ball so well."
In the podcast, Melichar explains what caused the shift in her careers, first to doubles and later to the top of the rankings.
"I think the time off just let me mentally relax," Melichar says. "And just enjoy life but enjoy tennis for fun not because I had to do it but I wanted to do it, so I think that was important."
Fluent in Czech, the 27-year-old has represented the United States her entire life. She pursued a pro career early in lieu of playing college ball, and initially focused on making it in singles. She would get as high as No. 400 before focusing exclusively in on doubles.
She would break through in 2018, cracking the Top 20 after winning two titles with Kveta Peschke, along with winning the Wimbledon mixed doubles crown. Throughout her career she has won eight doubles titles and been a Grand Slam finalist twice.
Melichar teamed with Roland Garros champion Swiatek in Paris. (Clement Mahoudeau/FFT)
Melichar is in the unique position of having a current player's husband, Torsten Peschke, as her coach. She shared the ups and downs of that relationship, what goes into figuring out a doubles practice, finding a partner and plotting out a schedule.
She has got a lot to look forward to in 2021, as she seeks her first non-mixed doubles Grand Slam—and she'll be decked out in Neptune Athletics attire. The company is brand new on the tennis scene, and has picked up a number of players including Katrina Stewart, Bjorn Fratangelo and Ajlaz Bedene.
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