Hana Mandlikova is a name which is remembered fondly by many tennis enthusiasts. After all, she was one of the well known tennis stars of her time. Born in 1962 in Czechoslovakia, she is the daughter of Vilem Mandlik, the semifinalist in 200 meter dash in the 1956 Olympic. Coming from a sports oriented family, it was only natural for her parents to propel her into tennis.
For an athlete lacking confidence, Hana Mandlikova sure held it together quite brilliantly, winning four (4) Grand Slam titles before finally throwing in the towel.
However, the younger Mandlikova was meant to achieve much more. She rose to fame as a junior player itself, when in 1978, the ITF launched the junior rankings and she became the first World No. 1 as a junior. Thereafter, she continued to move up. At the age of 16, she played in the WTA Milan, which she won by defeating Ivanna Madruga in the final. In the same year, she achieved a similar feat in Barcelona too.
Her talent and skill in tennis was first recognized in her early days playing as a junior competitor. She was the first female player to land the no.1 spot in the world junior rankings created and awarded by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
She was also the tennis star who led the then-Czechoslovakia in their first victory in the Fed Cup in 1983, winning the title for two more years thereafter for her country. In 1988, however, Mandlíková assumed an Australian citizenship, and quit tennis two years after. She was always on the Top 5 in the world rankings, her career high rank being at no. 3 for the Singles category.
However, one thing which put her on the map was her runners-up feat in the US Open in 1980. At the age of 18, she already had eight singles titles to her name. Coming in with such a background, she moved on to be crowned as the runner-up in Flushing Meadows, losing to Chris Evert in the final. However, that was just the beginning.
Later that year, she participated in the Australian Open, which she won after defeating Wendy Turnbull in the final. She eventually moved on to also win the French Open in 1981. One can say that it was around this time that she peaked in her career. The 1985 US Open was quite memorable, as she won the crown on her third attempt by defeating Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova consecutively.
She won her last Grand Slam title in 1987 Australian Open, defeating none other than Navratilova in the final once again. After that, she succumbed to injuries and her form plummeted. At a young age of 28, she retired from the scene owing to low confidence and a poor form. However, that was only a blessing in disguise as she became a successful tennis coach. Her proudest achievement is Jana Novotna, whom she took to a Wimbledon title and World No. 2 ranking.