Marketa Bondrosova of the Czech Republic was one of the least likely players to win Wimbledon, but that is no longer the case.
On Saturday, Bondrosova surprised herself, her family and friends and the tennis world with a 6-4, 6-4 straight-set defeat of Tunisian trailblazer and favorite Ons Jabour.
Bondrosova, 24, became the first unseeded player to win Wimbledon, going back to the days when Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in the 1980s after Navratilova’s exile, and the Czech-born hoisted the sport’s most important trophy. Became the newest female player. to America.
Like Navratilova, who watched the game from her box, Vondrusova is a left-handed player who specializes in nasty slice serves. He was used throughout the afternoon in the most tense moments when Jabur took control of the match or sought another comeback.
That’s where most of the similarities with Navratilova, the attacking serve-and-volleyer who burst into the sport as a teenager, end.
Vondrosova, who made up for an error-ridden match with astonishing quality to win, is now the ultimate underdog after going 3-3 in a match that shattered tennis’ fairy tale. She defeated Naomi Osaka at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, just days after Osaka ignited the Olympic torch as the frontrunner to win gold in her home country.
On Thursday, Bondrosova beat Ukrainian new mother Elina Svitolina to a spirited run into the semi-finals, inspiring her countrymen to defend themselves against Russian aggression.
On Saturday afternoon, it was Javert’s turn to have his dreams dashed in the tournament by Vondresoi’s tricky and unconventional match, which Vondresova said was impossible to win due to his lack of success on grass.
“When we came, it was like, ‘Let’s win some games,'” Bondrosova said. “Now this happened. It’s crazy,” Bondrosova said.
Considering she had surgery on her wrist during Wimbledon last year, she had a lot of peers asking the same question. This time, Bondrosova’s husband chose not to come see her play here until Saturday, instead she chose to stay home and look after her hairless Sphynx cat.
But after Bondrosova defeated Svitolina in the semifinals, Stepan Simek sought a cat-sitter and flew to watch his wife’s Wimbledon final. On Sunday they were supposed to celebrate their one year anniversary.
“One day we will have grandchildren and I am just looking forward to the day when their grandmother won Wimbledon,” said Simek.
Vondrosova’s close friend and doubles partner, Miriam Korozheyova, said she did not believe Vondrosova could win the singles title.
“It’s a dream come true for us,” she said.
For Jabbar, losing his second consecutive Wimbledon final to a far less accomplished woman than the other women he beat on the way to the edge of tennis history was nothing short of heartbreaking. Jabour has now lost three of her last five Grand Slam finals, making her one step closer to becoming the first woman of Arab and African descent to win the most important tournament in tennis. I didn’t.
Like many tennis players, she has long dreamed of winning Wimbledon and last year used a photo of the women’s trophy as her phone’s lock screen.
Jabour got off to a fast start, breaking a nervous Bondrosois serve several times in the first set. She played tight early on, but as she began to crumble, she threw a forehand into the net and floated a backhand over the baseline to hold onto a 4-2 lead in the first set.
Jabur found himself dropping the first set and missing a serve to start the second set. Bondrosova was doing whatever it took to keep the ball in play and launching curling and spinning shots that were very different from the power Jabur faced in recent games.
Jabour stabilized himself and extended his lead further in the 3-1 second set, but again lost the ability to recover, struggled to find the court and sent too many balls into the middle of the net. I was. She has lost 5 of her last 6 games.
Bondrosova finally ended Javert’s nightmare afternoon with a running backhand volley into the open court. Another woman from the Czech Republic became the Wimbledon champion, and to the surprise of anyone who might have imagined that scenario, Vondolosova wasn’t the star.
“After the final, my coach said, ‘I can’t believe how calm you are,'” Bondrosova said. “That was the main key to this title.”
When the ball bounced twice far out of her reach, Jabur, known for his almost always upbeat demeanor as the “Happiness Minister”, removed the bandana from his head and slowly, sadly, threw the increasingly familiar net. I started trudging towards.
Bondrosova arrived a little late. She was lying on the grass at the end of her final spot. She stood up and hugged Jabour, then quickly returned to the center of the court, where she fell to her knees, trying to understand how she managed to pull off this improbable run. Mr. Jabur sat in a chair and wiped away his tears.
There was more to the trophy presentation, with Jabur holding the runner-up plate in one hand and covering his eyes and nose with the other.
“This is the most heartbreaking loss of my career,” she said, trying to convey as much positivity as she could muster.
“I’m not giving up. I’m going to come back stronger,” she told the crowd, who could finally shout for her the way she’d wanted all afternoon.
For Fondrusova and Czech tennis, the celebrations are just beginning. The Czech Republic, with a population of around 10.5 million, has become a women’s tennis factory like no other in the sport. There are eight Czech women in the top 50, most of whom, like Fondrosova, are in their mid-20s or younger.
When the tournament began, world number 10 Petra Kvitova seemed the most likely Czech finalist. Kvitova, who won Wimbledon twice in 2011 and 2014, had won a grass-court tournament in Berlin a few weeks earlier.
Vondresova has been two years out of Wimbledon after winning just two grass-court matches. But a month ago, Vondrasova watched Karolina Muchova, another talented and unremarkable Czech woman who defies this age of power tennis, fall just short of winning the French Open. was Bondrosova said she and Muchova are members of the same tennis club in her hometown. And when Muchova lost in three sets to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, she cried.
Vondrusova, who reached the French Open final in 2019 at just 19, was inspired by Muchova. Her Muchova career was also derailed by her injury, where she was playing on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
Like Muchova, Bondrosova was initially unsure if doctors could fix her wrist problem. Her injury took her out of the game for a long time, but Simek said it made her appreciate tennis even more.
“You can’t play tennis as a job. You have to enjoy it, you have to love it,” Simek said. “She really enjoys it, she loves the game.
At Wimbledon, Muchova lost in the first round, but Bondrosova started a steady run against seven opponents, including five seeded players, and several, including Jabar, known for his turf prowess. was included. In the quarterfinals, Jessica Pegula took the game point with a 4-1 lead in the final set, while Bondrosova breathed fire to win the final five games.
And then came the final two games against opponents playing for a cause far greater than themselves. The weight not only gives the players vitality and strength, but also makes them lose their spirits and burden them.
Against Vondrousova, both Svitolina and Jabour arrived on the tight and flat Center Court to whet the crowd and promise a comeback that will be talked about for years, if not decades. The shadows of the players I was holding were drawn. On the other side of the net was Von Dorsova, best known for her arm body art. She had made a bet with her coach, Jan Mertl, a former Czech player, that if she won a Grand Slam, she would win the prize money. A tattoo commemorating victory.
Holding the winner’s plate, Vondrusova said she planned to go to the tattoo parlor on Sunday.
David Waldstein contributed to the report.