Lucie Safarova surprised the tennis world by showing up in the draw of this week’s $25,000 ITF tournament in Reims, France. However, the former doubles world No.1 dispels comeback rumors, saying that her participation is just for the sake of family fun and support to her nieces.
The 36-year-old Safarova officially ended her tennis career in May 2019, when she and Dominika Cibulkova lost their first-round doubles match at the French Open. In the years that followed, the Czech star got married to Tomas Plekanec, and gave birth to two children — a girl named Lea in December 2019 and a boy named Oliver in May 2022.
Having noticed her at the W25 Reims event, people started talking about Safarova’s comeback, but the 2015 Roland Garros singles finalist explained that she’s not planning to return to the Hologic WTA Tour.
“I still enjoy tennis, but I don’t want to come back,” she told iSport.cz from France, after putting her children to sleep.
So, how come we’re seeing Safarova at the tennis tournament? Well, her elder sister Veronika has two daughters, seventeen-year-old Emma and fourteen-year-old Anna, who both play tennis. Safarova said: “We are a tennis family and my sister and I once played doubles. Now the nieces are getting to the age where they can play nice tennis and I would like to play a game with each of them and enjoy it.”
In the singles draw of the October 2-8 Reims tournament, the former singles world No.5 Safarova will play against Yaroslava Bartashevich of France in the first round. In doubles, she’s teamed up with her niece Emma Dvorackova and their first-round opponents will be Ukrainians Mariia Bergen and Daria Lopatetska. Both matches are scheduled for Tuesday, October 3.
UPDATE: Safarova won her first-round singles match against Yaroslava Bartashevich on Tuesday, but couldn’t play doubles with her niece and was forced to abandon her brief comeback altogether: “My participation has been qualified as an ‘official return to professional tennis’ and it needed to be signaled to the ITF prior to competing. I was not informed of this mandatory procedure, but I respect the decision made by the tennis authorities.”