2002 : Suk, saviour of the Sparta Tennis Club

Jun 2, 2023, 10:37:02 AM

In 2002, Cyril Suk saved 23 tennis courts

In early August 2002, a big thunderstorm hit Prague. After days of torrential rain, the rivers burst their banks. The Czech capital and a big part of the country were partially flooded. It caused major damages; 225,000 people had to leave, 17 people died, and the Prague public transports could not work anymore. Tennis courts were flooded too, especially the courts of TK Sparta, the most iconic club in the city, which is based near the Vltava River. “The flood water level reached 20 feet above ground level. The courts are completely flooded. Our club is in jeopardy,” said Sparta sporting director Vojtech Slegl in The New York Times. According to him, the damages cost about $1M.

Doubles player Cyril Suk, who went through the Sparta Academy, refused to see his club die. In the aftermath of the flood, he contacted all the Czech players he knew to ask them if they could help the club financially. Martina Navratilova –whose coach was Suk’s mother in her early days as a tennis player– was one of the first players to accept, before then Czech No. 1 and World No. 12 Jiri Novak followed her. “Of course, I will help,” he said in The New York Times. “I will send money and equipment. It is important that Czech clubs and young players keep improving.” Navratilova and Novak’s engagement inspired others. “All Czech players have agreed to help,” said Suk. “They have all promised they would donate some money.” These private donations, combined with public funds, have helped Sparta get back on its feet and keep growing. The club now has 23 outdoor courts and three indoor courts. It is twice as much as what it had before the floods.