Dominika Cibulkova was the biggest surprise of the 2014 Australian Open. The Slovakian tennis player defeated Maria Sharapova and Agi Radwanska to reach her first grand slam final, where she faced a tougher and more experienced Li Na.
Prior to the Australian Open, Cibulkova’s most notable accomplishment was reaching the semifinals of the 2009 French Open. Thanks to her strong showing in Melbourne this year, she has now reached the quarterfinals of every major.
One thing you’ll notice immediately about Cibulkova is her size. She is only 5-foot-3, so she compensates for her small stature with an incredible work ethic. She puts in about 10-hour days when she practices, about half of which is done working on her fitness. She has built her lower body into an incredibly powerful base that helps supply her power on the court. Though she is nearly a foot shorter than Li Na, for instance, she averages a higher speed on her ground strokes because she is so strong. Cibulkova really is a model for undersized athletes who aspire to be professional tennis players.
Now that we’ve gotten some of the background on her out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff. Cibulkova has a great personality off the court.
In this video taken at the 2012 French Open, Cibulkova answers a handful of questions in a get-to-know-you type of way. She reveals some of her idiosyncrasies on the court, and she also shares that she has a boyfriend:
Cibulkova has been together with boyfriend Miso Navara for at least the past few years. Early last year she revealed that the two had been engaged for a year, which would make it two years that they’ve been engaged now.
Oh, and about that photoshoot video at the top. That was done for a Slovakian website. You can see how the photos turned out here.
Below is a video of Cibulkova dancing with Caroline Wozniaki at a 2011 exhibition. We’ll let Rory McIlroy fantasize over this one:
And here’s Cibulkova being told she’s not allowed to change her shirt on the court: