Doha, Qatar: 'Staying on top is tougher than getting there' is an old adage in sports, but new women’s world No.1 Naomi Osaka would do well even though it’s an unfamiliar role for her, said former top-ranked player Karolina Pliskova.
Pliskova has first-hand experience of the pressures and expectations of being a No.1 and she said it would take some time to get used to it.
“I think she (Osaka) is going to do well, because she won two Grand Slams in a row, so she can be confident enough and for sure she is,” said Pliskova about the new Japanese star.
“There is no reason why she should panic. I know how it's not going to be easy, because in Japan, for sure, it's huge.
“So it's going to always be tough in the beginning, the pressure, but I think she can do well. She proved that. After US Open she still won a Grand Slam, so sometimes some players, they just hit some up-and-downs and they played well and then they lost few matches in a row. She didn't do that, so I think she's going to be fine,” said Pliskova.
The Czech Republic player was in Doha within hours of her Fed Cup defeat to another former World No.1 and Qatar Total Open favourite Simona Halep and she said she had buried that defeat in her mind and now it’s all about the Qatar Total Open.
“For me, it's gone already. Of course, it's sad because we won so many times. Everybody expect it's going to continue like forever. But Romania, they had a great team, maybe better team than us.
“We knew it was going to be tough. Simona was there, so we didn't count about doing some points against her. We thought we would win the doubles maybe because ranking-wise we were the better team, but that didn't happen. That's how it is.
“But, for me, now Fed Cup is over and the tournament starts,” said Pliskova the 2017 champion in Doha.
Pliskova could meet Halep again in the final in Doha, but she said for that to happen she needs to beat a host of top players.
“To play Simona I’ve to win four more matches, so this is very far. So I'm not thinking about this at all. Obviously, I won a title here, so there is some different feeling always in the tournament where you win the title, so you believe that you can do it again.”
And I like these conditions here, so I don't see any reason why I should not play good tennis here. Obviously, I had a lot of tennis in the past days, but I think if I survive the first couple of days here, I'll be fine.
Pliskova has a bye in the first round and will take on the winner of the match between compatriot Siniakova Katerina and Belgium’s Elise Martins in the second round.