Monday, May 24th, 2021 -- Kristina Tkach is a 9 time Junior European Champion; Additionally Tkach is a four time European Champion, having won the eight ball event in 2016, and then again in 2019, including straight pool in 2017 then again 2019, a stellar year for Kristina. She has played and beaten men such as Billy Thorpe, Mosconi Cup champion, alongside greats in the game like Shane Van Boening and Skylar Woodward.
“It’s late, I’m sorry...what year I began to play was in 2008 I believe...2007 I was eight years old and my dad brought me into a poolroom; he became my first coach, so...basically his influence is huge for my game, because we were practicing together for a long time, before I started to practice by myself. He would pick me up from the school, and we would go to the poolroom.
Definitely he was better than me in the beginning. I remember we used to play straight pool, and he would give me a handicap, and we were playing for 50 Squats...It was fun; it was summer. It was always summer time, because I had, have a table at my country house, outside of Moscow.
So, we practiced a lot together. Up to some time, I became better than he is, and he is a great amatuer player, but he doesn’t practice much, so it’s hard for him to keep his level.
Consciously, I think it was when I was about 20 that I began winning events, in America, competing with asian players and beating them. So, I felt that at that point I didn’t feel like a junior anymore -- I felt like a woman who could compete on the ‘big stage,’ and achieved something.” -- Says Tkach in an interview with her in Facebook Messenger this week.
Also, Tkach believes professional female players can play on the level their male counterparts, and I just recently watched Tkach dispatching Billy Thorpe 5-2 in a match sponsored by Predator Cues; here is a link to that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv_7znb1_bc
“At the age of 16, when I began to win every single European championships youth, and won my first women's championship, I felt like, ‘I can be professional. I can do that, and I might have a future in this sport, and I can achieve something.’ So, it gave me extra motivation to keep practicing. So I felt like at the age of sixteen, someday I may reach the professional level,” said Tkach in our interview, now at just 22 years old, already a seasoned women's professional pool player, and raw, rare talent in the game -- amazing.
Of the quality of play in recent times, Kristina says, “The game stepped forward so much. It’s not enough anymore just to pocket the balls, you must have a great break, you must have great kicking abilities, you have to adapt really quickly to any condition you play, and nowadays everybody can run out, and you have to be really very mentally strong...Now, I think it’s more you have to fight, and adjust to the game.”
“What advice can I give for females in the sport? Well, it’s, ‘Believe in yourself, and never pity yourself into thinking if you lose to a man, it’s okay, because they are better than you because you're a girl. That kind of mentality is never going to bring you to the highest level. It will never help you to compete with men, so, you can play with men...you have to keep fighting no matter what,’ and I think it’s sometimes one of the biggest things that separates the women’s game from the men’s game -- the woman doesn’t actually believe she can win against the man. ” says Tkach, the consummate fighter, game changer, and equalizer, the new generation of pool players, taking the game to levels previously unseen.
From A Facebook Post By Kristina yesterday at 10:38 AM about her showing at The World Pool Masters, being concluded later today (it is 12:03 am, Tuesday, May 25th now):
“First of all I want to thanks Emily Frazer for inviting me on this event and trust in a women’s part of this sport. Also all Matchroom Pool team for the work you do guys, this tournament is on the different level from anything I’ve seen.
And of course Predator Cues for always being by my side and support.
I wish I could do a better job but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything because this time I lost a battle not with an opponent but with my own nerves. Put too much pressure on myself trying to play perfect, trying to prove that I’m worthy being here, trying to show that girls can also compete with men. All this costed me losses so many times. It hurts the most when you lose to yourself. Just wanna share it with you out load and show real me as a person and player. Even tho I look calm and don’t show emotions there is so much going on in my head. I do work on myself, learn to care only about my game, not people’s opinion. Sometimes it works sometimes as you can see it doesn’t. Will this battle be ever over? No. BUT I will fight every single time. As hard as I can because I love this game and I do believe that women can compete with males.
Thanks for all your support and love that you show me. It means indeed a lot for me.
Next try World Championships.” -- Tkach said just yesterday.
All in all, Tkach already has an impressive tournament win record in just a short time, having played at the professional level by her own account at about 2 years now.
Raised up in the game from the age of just eight years old, her father helped mold her into a player among players, all pro, and now ready to be one of the new female players to equalize the game with their male counterparts professionally worldwide. Truly, the heart of a champion -- heart, game, grit, tenacity -- and she’s just getting started.
Look for Kristina to be playing top level professional pool now and for years to come -- ready to take on top female, and male professional players in tournaments around the world.