Commentary: Wimbledon victor’s fondness for McDonald’s reflects her normalcy. Yet, she stands apart.

by Sophia Chen
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Marketa Vondrousova

Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova showcased four pieces of chocolate candy in her victorious left hand while settling down with a handful of journalists for one of her final press encounters of the night.

A celebratory indulgence for securing a Grand Slam title at the age of 24?

Not quite.

“I’m a fan of sweets, I consume them regularly,” Vondrousova casually shared, flashing a grin a few hours post her triumphant 6-4, 6-4 victory over Ons Jabeur at Centre Court on Saturday, making her the first unseeded woman to claim the title at the All England Club.

When it was suggested that most tennis athletes restrict such luxuries to post-tournament, she disagreed.

“No,” she responded, “I don’t fret about these matters. I even enjoyed McDonald’s after, I believe, (defeating No. 4 Jessica Pegula in the quarterfinals), so I’m just a typical individual.”

Quite the opposite.

Vondrousova stands out. The left-handed Czech player remained the composed competitor, delivering consistent strokes, throughout the 80 minutes it took to overcome a superior-ranked and seasoned adversary under a closed retractable roof due to gusty winds.

“She played,” Jabeur acknowledged, “perhaps an ideal final for herself.”

While this could be true — Vondrousova committed 13 unforced errors to Jabeur’s 31 — there’s more to the story. Now slated to ascend from No. 42 to a career-peak No. 10 in Monday’s WTA rankings, Vondrousova has firmly placed herself on the map as a formidable opponent, possessing a blend of skill and gumption that might see her on the grand stages of her sport repeatedly.

And what may unsettle her rivals is that if Vondrousova can excel on grass courts, her least preferred and least triumphant terrain, she definitely should be closely monitored regardless of the tournament she partakes in.

Back in 2019, as a teenage contestant, she progressed unseeded to the French Open final on red clay before succumbing to Ash Barty. Two years later, she reached the Tokyo Olympics final on hard courts before yielding to Belinda Bencic, earning a silver medal. With her recent Wimbledon feat on grass courts — eliminating five seeded players, including No. 6 Jabeur, now a three-time major runner-up — her potential seems boundless.

Consider this: Prior to her flawless 7-0 run in the past fortnight, Vondrousova’s track record at the All England Club was a mere 1-4.

Three losses in the first round, and one in the second.

“I hadn’t performed well on grass,” she conceded on Saturday, reflecting on her earlier performances and recalling her tennis learning days on clay at a Prague club from the age of 8, “so I would never have envisioned (winning Wimbledon). And also, if anybody had suggested this before the tournament, I would have dismissed them as ‘insane’. I believed clay was my strong suit. Now, it’s grass.”

She chuckled at the thought.

“I’ve adapted well to hard courts and clay, and now I’ve proved myself on grass too, so we’ll see what unfolds,” stated Vondrousova, who had already begun her celebratory beer intake. “I’m confident now that I can perform on any surface.”

An ardent tennis fan, she keeps track of multiple matches at once — “I have my iPad, iPhone, everything.”

Last year was tough as she took a break from April to October due to a surgically repaired left wrist. She had a stress fracture that resulted in bone fragments in two places, necessitating two surgeries and a cast reaching nearly to her shoulder. By the end of the season, her ranking nearly plummeted out of the Top 100. Nike, she mentioned, did not renew an expiring sponsorship contract.

The second surgery “was highly stressful. I couldn’t bear to watch tennis. I was heartbroken,” Vondrousova confessed. “I had been performing well before, then (the wrist issues) occurred, so I was left wondering, ‘Will I ever stay fit?’ … When you’re making a comeback, it’s hard to anticipate what lies ahead.”

Certainly. There’s no telling what the future holds. But considering her versatility, youth, and ability to adjust to various surfaces, a fit Vondrousova appears to have a promising career ahead.

Since 2002, Howard Fendrich has served as the AP’s tennis correspondent. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

AP tennis: https://bigbignews.net/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Marketa Vondrousova

What significant achievement did Marketa Vondrousova accomplish at Wimbledon?

Marketa Vondrousova became the first unseeded woman to win the Wimbledon title.

How does Marketa Vondrousova defy the typical tennis athlete lifestyle?

Vondrousova doesn’t restrict herself from indulgences such as sweets or McDonald’s, a trait uncommon among many professional athletes who maintain strict diets.

How has Marketa Vondrousova’s performance been in other major tennis tournaments?

As a teenager in 2019, she made it to the French Open final on red clay before losing to Ash Barty. Two years later, she reached the final at the Tokyo Olympics on hard courts before losing to Belinda Bencic, earning a silver medal.

What difficulties did Marketa Vondrousova face recently in her tennis career?

She was away from the tour from April to October due to a surgically repaired left wrist. She had a stress fracture that resulted in bone fragments in two places, requiring two surgeries and a cast reaching nearly to her shoulder.

What future expectations are there for Marketa Vondrousova?

Given her versatility, her age, and her ability to adapt to different surfaces, a healthy Vondrousova seems capable of a promising career.

More about Marketa Vondrousova

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