Karolina Pliskova believes her Wimbledon defeat brings her closer to a Grand Slam title. [Credit: Stefan Brending // Wikimedia Commons]
Only 27 women have reached No. 1 in WTA rankings since they began in 1975, and Karolina Pliskova is one of them. [Credit: Stefan Brending/Wikimedia Commons]

Where there are wins, there are also losses.

Tennis star Karolina Pliskova knows how to navigate both. After the former No. 1 lost to Ashleigh Barty in the Wimbledon final Saturday, she took her defeat like a champ. 

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“To accept that maybe somebody played better that day, or somebody is a bit better, for no matter which reason, is important,” Pliskova, 29, said in a news conference following the match, according to The New York Times. “I know how to do that.” 

Characterizing herself as someone who never cries, the Saturday match brought out a new side of Pliskova, who was left in tears. But the defeat turned out to produce one of her most eye-opening experiences — she said in the news conference she had “never had a better moment in my career.” 

The ability to deal with disappointment, she said, is something that “all the big champions and all the big names” had to learn, and she’s no exception.

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Of course, this wasn’t the first of her losses. Although she was ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association in 2017, Pliskova had only appeared in a final once before this at the 2016 U.S. Open, and is still waiting to win a Grand Slam title.

The title still remains her dream, she said, and the loss at the Wimbledon final gave her “more trust, more belief, more of everything to go in the next Grand Slams.”

“My dream is always going to be now, forever, to win the Grand Slam,” she said. “Of course I’ve reached some goals which I always wanted. This is going to be, always, my goal for now.”

“We both tried to win, so somebody has to lose,” Pliskova said. “You have to accept that.”

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Editor’s Note: The Story Exchange is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching the annual Women In Science Incentive Prize. Apply now for a chance to receive $5,000 in funding for your climate-related research or startup. Deadline: July 31. 

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