No Spicy Food & Dream Dinner With Michael Jordan: Meet Jiri Lehecka
Jiri Lehecka has taken the ATP Tour by storm over the past four months. After reaching the championship match at the Next Gen ATP Finals, the Czech has sprinted forward with his momentum.
The 21-year-old defeated former World No. 2 Alexander Zverev at the season-opening United Cup and gained momentum from there. Lehecka battled to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, where he upset three current or former Top 10 stars: Felix Auger-Aliassime, Cameron Norrie and Borna Coric.
The son of former professional athletes — father Jiri was a professional swimmer and mother Romana a track-and-field athlete — has the firepower to go blow for blow with some of the best players on Tour.
ATPTour.com caught up with Lehecka in Miami to learn more about his personality off the court.
If you could choose any three people to go to dinner with, who would they be and why?
Michael Jordan, Conor McGregor and Elon Musk. I think that these three guys are on the top of the game at what they do. They know how to do it, they’ve proven it. I think they’ve fulfilled their dreams.
If you could switch places with one person in the world who would it be and why?
That’s a tricky question! I would say I would love to be Rafa for a day when he plays a match on Court Philippe Chatrier in Paris. Of course it’s a Grand Slam, so it’s a great tournament to win. For sure it’s one of the dreams. But I think that for him, he is one of these guys where it just feels like he can’t lose there.
What is your favourite non-tennis memory?
Probably for now jet-skiing with my fitness coach in Dubai. First time. I enjoyed it a lot. I would be able to do it all day.
What is something interesting fans might not know about you?
I don’t know, honestly. I think that I’m just your typical man. I hate spicy foods. I can’t, I just can’t. I love pasta, Italian food. All the entrees, appetizers. I can eat it all day, all week, all month, maybe all year.
What’s your favourite pasta?
Penne for sure and tortellini with tomato sauce all the time. Tomato sauce [on pasta] by itself is quite a good one, I like that.
If you can achieve one thing in your career, what would it be?
To win a Grand Slam and to win every Grand Slam at least once.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do because you’re a tennis player?
I think it would have been in Kitzbühel last year, we had a chance to go paragliding. But I was too scared to do that, so I chose not to do it. I don’t really know if there is something really crazy for me to do because I’m a tennis player.
I had a chance to see the Burj Khalifa. Stuff where for example I wouldn’t be able to go there if it wouldn’t be for tennis. Tennis opened for me the path to see things: the Empire State Building in New York, the Miami Heat game yesterday.
How much do you like basketball?
I’m not the biggest fan. It was my first time being at an NBA game, but it was quite an experience. I liked it.
What was your pinch-me moment on the ATP Tour?
Last year when I achieved my win against Lorenzo [Musetti] in Rotterdam, which meant that I would be in the Top 100.