US Open 2019
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app

Third seed Karolina Pliskova is among the favourites to win the women’s singles at the US Open and started her bid for a first Grand Slam victory with a straight-set win over fellow Czech Tereza Martincova.

In her latest BBC Sport column, she explains why it wasn’t a perfect win, how she deals with pre-match nerves, why she watches opponents on YouTube and how husband Michal did not like watching Pretty Woman on Broadway.

I am aware I am the only active player who has been the world number one and not won a Grand Slam title – but it is not something I’m always thinking about.

When I was little I dreamed of being the number one player in the world and that was what I said I wanted to be when people asked me.

I was so pleased to achieve that in 2017 and it means my main focus now is winning a Grand Slam title. I want it so much.

People see I can win a Grand Slam with my game, I know it myself and I’m working hard to achieve that.

To be the world number one you need to consistently play at a high level all year so it is a different achievement to winning just one tournament.

You might have players who are lower down the rankings and are able to win a Grand Slam but they will not get close to being number one.

I am hoping I can finally achieve both of those great things by winning the US Open this year!

My first-round match was not perfect, but I’m through so that’s the most important thing.

My serve is my biggest weapon and against Tereza it was not great at all. I lost six of my service games – that is too many.

There is a bigger chance at a Slam you’re not going to play your best tennis one day, so somehow you have to find a way through.

That’s what I did and I hope there are not any more days like this.

‘I watched YouTube videos so I knew what to expect’

Although I have played many matches and many finals, I always feel a little nervous on the day of a match.

I’m not shaking or anything like that but it can be tough to eat something in the morning, so instead of having breakfast I might just have snacks, like a banana, so I’m not hungry.

Also, I always try to imagine how the match will work out so I’m nervous because I’m thinking about things a little bit too much.

But once I’m on court that feeling disappears.

It helped that I was first on court for my first-round match on Monday morning so I didn’t have to wait around too long before going out to play.

It is a Grand Slam and you want to play well so there are always nerves and I think I was more nervous because I was against another Czech player.

I played at the same club as Tereza in Prague when we were teenagers, a club called Stvanice, which was the first lawn tennis club in the Czech Republic.

Karolina Pliskova shakes hands with Tereza Martincova

Obviously I had heard of her – the Czech Republic is not that big so everybody pretty much knows everybody!

My sister talks to her a little bit and practises with her sometimes, but I haven’t really spoken with her or hit with her.

That meant I watched YouTube videos of her so I knew what to expect.

We have a lot of statistics which I use to analyse myself and my opponents but I also like to watch a player myself so I get a feeling of how they play.

I don’t watch every opponent because I’ve played pretty much everybody inside the top 100 and some girls I’ve played 10 times so I don’t watch them anymore.

But I had never played her before so I wanted to see her play.

She played great, she was confident and played freely, and I had to fight to win.

‘My husband didn’t like Pretty Woman’

I arrived in New York about 10 days ago so I’ve been doing lots of different things away from the court to make sure I’m not bored. Although you can’t really get bored in New York!

I told you in my last column I went to the cinema three times in a week when I was in Cincinnati and Toronto, but here in New York I have been going to see shows on Broadway – as well as going out for nice dinners and doing some shopping.

My husband Michal is a sports presenter on Czech television but he is also my manager. That means we work together a lot.

Karolina Pliskova with her husband

He is here with me in New York and we went together to watch Pretty Woman on Broadway – but he was not a big fan of the show so I went with my sister instead to watch Frozen. That was amazing!

Michal and I try to have date nights away from the team sometimes, and I particularly like sushi, Thai and Italian restaurants.

I have been coming here to New York for about 10 years now so I have my favourite places which I always visit.

Karolina Pliskova was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko at Flushing Meadows.