Radwanska boosts Polish pride after football loss
WIMBLEDON, England (AP)
Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland restored pride in her homeland after the national football team did poorly at the European Championships, which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine.
A front-page headline in the Fakt tabloid on Friday declared the 23-year-old Radwanska ''better than the football players.'' An article went on to say the football team deserves ''to carry her racket for her.''
Poles are overwhelmingly pleased with their country's successful organization the Euro 2012 tournament that Poland co-hosted with Ukraine. However, enthusiasm for the football team tanked following Poland's elimination from the tournament after the group stage without a single win.
Radwanska defeated Angelique Kerber of Germany on Thursday to become the first Pole in a Grand Slam final since 1939. She will play against four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams for the title on Saturday.
On Friday, Radwanska canceled a news conference because of a respiratory illness that made it difficult for her to speak. She said in a statement that despite her good performances, she has not been ''well for a few days,'' but added that she is ''feeling good on the court and playing some good tennis.''
The front pages of most Polish newspapers hailed Radwanska's achievement at the All England Club. Her hometown of Krakow will set up a fan zone with a big TV screen for people to watch the match against Williams on Saturday.
''We are proud of Agnieszka's advance and want to show how many people are cheering her on and wishing her victory,'' Magdalena Sroka, Krakow's deputy mayor, in charge of culture and city promotion told the news portal www.gazeta.pl.
The last Polish player to reach a major final was Jadwiga Jedrzejowska. But she lost in the final of the 1939 French Championships, two years after runner-up finishes at Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships.
Poles are also celebrating the performance of their men's volleyball team after beating world champions Brazil at the World League in Bulgaria on Thursday.