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Marketa Vondrousova wins Wimbledon 2023

‘It’s Crazy’: Unseeded Vondrousova Stuns Jabeur to Win Wimbledon

Marketa Vondrousova admitted even she was stunned by her historic Wimbledon triumph as the injury-plagued Czech became the first unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era.

Czech tennis player Marketa Vondrousova upset the odds in Saturday’s final on Centre Court as she powered to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Tunisian sixth seed Ons Jabeur. The 24-year-old clinched an unexpected maiden Grand Slam title at the second attempt after losing to Ash Barty in the 2019 French Open final.

“After everything I have been through, I had a cast last time, it’s amazing I can stand here and hold this trophy,” said Vondrousova, who was sidelined with a wrist injury in 2022.

“I don’t know how I’ve done it. Tennis is crazy.”

Vondrousova joins Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova as the only Czech women to win a Wimbledon title. She is just the ninth unseeded champion at a Grand Slam tournament.

Vondrousova’s triumph completed a remarkable comeback after a rash of injuries stalled her promising career. Just 12 months ago, she was an injured bystander at Wimbledon, reduced to watching her best friend Miriam Kolodziejova attempt to qualify for the main draw.

Marketa Vondrousova wins Wimbledon 2023
(Photo credit: Wimbledon on Instagram)

Vondrousova’s second wrist surgery had ruled the Olympic silver medallist out for six months, although her absence from the tour at least allowed her the space and time to get married.

“The comebacks are not easy. You never know what to expect,” she said. “I was hoping I could come back to this level and now I am here. It’s an amazing feeling.”

At 42 in the world, she was the second-lowest ranked player to reach the Wimbledon final — only Serena Williams in 2018 was lower at 181.

So unexpected was her run that she told her husband Stepan Simek to stay at home in Prague to look after their cat Frankie until the final when a pet sitter was found to allow her partner to make the trip to Wimbledon.

“It’s amazing, tomorrow is our first wedding anniversary,” said Vondrousova, who had a dismal record on grass prior to this year’s Wimbledon.

“I think I’m going to have some beer. It’s been an exhausting few weeks.”

The tattooed Vondrousova has a fondness for body art and her victory means coach Jan Mertl has to get inked as well.

“I made a bet with my coach. He said if I win a Grand Slam he’s going to get one also. So I think we’re going to go tomorrow!” she said.

Ice-cool Vondrousova

While Vondrousova celebrated, Jabeur wept during an emotional trophy presentation after her latest heart-breaking Grand Slam loss.

Jabeur was the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final last year at Wimbledon, but defeat to Elena Rybakina in three sets took the shine off that achievement.

She endured more misery just weeks later when she lost to Iga Swiatek in the US Open final.

“It’s going to be a tough day but I am not going to give up,” she said while wiping away her tears.

Marketa Vondrousova beats Ons Jabeur to win Wimbledon 2023
(Photo credit: Wimbledon on Instagram)

Even for a player known as the ‘Minister of Happiness’, Jabeur’s positive personality will be tested after her bid to become the first African and Arab woman to win a Grand Slam singles title ended in failure again.

“It’s the most painful loss of my career. I’m going to look ugly in the photos so that’s not going to help!” she said.

“But we’re going to make it one day, I promise you. I’m going to come back stronger.”

Jabeur had no answer to the big-hitting Vondrousova despite the support of 15,000 partisan fans under the closed Centre Court roof.

Trailing 4-2 in the first set, Vondrousova seized the momentum as she reeled off four consecutive games to take the opener. Jabeur moved 3-1 up in the second set with a pair of breaks, only to falter again as her unforced errors reached 31 by the final game.

In contrast to Jabeur’s troubles, Vondrousova remained ice-cool and sealed her unlikely triumph with a perfect volley before falling to the turf in delight.

© AFP

Banner image from Wimbledon on Instagram.


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