Marketa Vondrousova: Wimbledon 2023 finalist in profile

Conspicuous by the unusual tatoos on her arms, Vondrousova is making waves at Wimbledon

Lawrence Ostlere
Saturday 15 July 2023 16:37 BST
Wimbledon: Highlights from day nine at tennis tournament

Marketa Vondrousova has made it to the final of Wimbledon 2023 after knocking out Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals on Centre Court. She will take on Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur on Saturday, as both women aim to win their first Wimbledon title.

Who is Marketa Vondrousova?

Vondrousova is a 24-year-old from Czech Republic who grew up in the west of the country in a sporting family: her maternal grandfather was a national pentathlon champion and her mother was a professional volleyball player.

After a successful junior career reaching world No1, Vondrousova made a quick impact on the senior tour, and reached the French Open final aged 19, where she lost to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. A string of injuries then disrupted her progress, and this Wimbledon semi-final is the closest she has got to reaching her second career grand-slam final.

“I‘ve been through it,” she said after her semi-final win over Svitolina. “Once I was very young, so I think it was just too much for me back then.”

The left hander is a tricky opponent, with an uncanny ability to reach even the most precise serve on either flank, and an unpredictable game of baseline prowess mixed with cheeky drop shots. Beating Vondrousova requires a lot of mental and physical energy.

She is conspicuous by the unusual tatoos on her arms. “I actually got the first one when I was about 16,” she told the BBC this week. “I got it for my birthday. Then I just started feeling like I wanted more. It’s also art for me, and I appreciate people who do that. I have three or four [tattoo artists] that I’m visiting often.”

And her coach might need to book himself in too. “I have a bet with [Jan Mertl]... If I win a grand slam, he’s going to get one, so I hope I will,” she smiled.

Marketa Vondrousova is one step away from a second slam final

Was she expected to do well?

Not really, no. Vondrousova is a talented player who has been as high as No 14 in the world (currently No 42), but she specialises in clay, and grass is her most unfamiliar surface. She had previously won only one match at Wimbledon before this tournament.

Clearly the deep run at Wimbledon wasn’t in the diary, and her husband is now scrambling out to be in her box for the final. “He’s coming tomorrow with my sister,” she said on Thursday. “We texted the cat sitter to come to our home.”

How has she done it?

With style at first, beating her first three opponents in straight sets. Then came a tight match against Czech No 1 Marie Bouzkova, before another battling quarter-final win over the American Jessica Pegula. Her victory over Svitolina was dominant, and full of style.

Wimbledon is a place which tends to favour big servers who can use the fast surface to kill points quickly and hold serve, game after game. However, Vondrousova has served consistently well through the rounds and her returning talents have forced opponents into rallying for points they might have won cheaply against other players.

Can she go all the way?

She will be the slight underdog against the No 6 seed and last year’s beaten finalist Ons Jabeur, but anything can happen in a one off match, and her impressive Centre Court debut in the semi-final suggests nerves won’t stand in her way.

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