Marketa Vondrousova is a tattoo and trainer-obsessed Wimbledon finalist

Marketa Vondrousova is a tattoo and trainer-obsessed Wimbledon finalist

A quick look through the Vondrousova family tree should have given away the characteristics of a future champion.

Daughter of one-time Slavia Prague volleyball star Jindriska Anderlova and granddaughter of 1935 Czech national pentathlon champion František Froč, it was no surprise when a young Marketa was gifted at every game.

‘He started playing floorball and immediately started scoring goals for the school,’ his father David explained to

He was also great at running or playing soccer with the boys. When we put a ping-pong bat in his hand, he started winning.’

Father David and mother Jindriska divorced when he was three, but it was decided early on that they would put any differences aside to help boost his sporting prospects.

Marketa Vondrosova (pictured) with Once Jabeur in the final at Wimbledon on Saturday

The Czech athlete comes from a lineage of sports stars and is thriving in tennis himself

‘From the beginning, my vision was that Marketa could do sport at the highest level. It was clear he could do it,’ added his father, who was the driving force behind him starting tennis at the age of four.

“I had a good relationship with tennis. I never played it competitively, but I had a sporting grandfather and he started playing it recreationally with me when I was twelve,’ he explained.

‘He took a wooden racket out of the cupboard and we always played on holidays. I always had bloody hands from the calluses, but I had a lot of fun.’

Vondrosova grew up in Sokolové, a small town in the Czech Republic two hours from Prague and close to the German border.

He quickly became a talking point at junior tournaments and as a teenager soon saw little means of constant travel, seeing him move to Prague himself to train at the age of 14.

Clay was – and is – his favorite surface, it’s what he grew up playing and so when he reached the final of the French Open in 2019 he felt a natural path to prosperity.

Grass, a surface he previously described as ‘impossible’ for him to excel on, was not part of the script.

Even with his six wins and run to the Wimbledon final, he remarkably still has a losing record on grass, with 10 wins and 11 losses. He can enter the field with his first Grand Slam on Saturday.

Vondrousova, a former junior world No. 1, is by her own admission a calm and quiet character. Those are two traits that have served him well, and youth coaches have all noted that his poise on the court has set him apart from his peers.

But while he is good, he is being understated, it is the individual nature of tennis that appealed. It was one of the reasons he was happy to return to football.

Vondrousova, pictured left in 2022, now has a vast array of tattoos on each arm (right).

He still holds the unbeaten record on grass with 10 wins and 11 losses before the final

Although she has a side that is introverted, Vondrosova expresses herself in other ways and soon finds her feet in Prague.

At 16, while she ran the school, which was specifically designed to help her improve alongside her tennis, she met her now-husband, IT manager Stepan Simek.

He would begin his love affair with tattooing, which saw his body treated like a doodles board, with various designs, both with a tattoo gun and stick-and-poke.

‘I actually got the first one when I was 16 for my birthday and I don’t know, I thought I wanted more!’ Vondrosova told the BBC.

‘It’s art for me and I have 3 or 4 (tattoo artists) I go to in Prague.’

As for many of his designs – he is largely selective about how much he reveals publicly.

One, visible on his right tricep, reads ‘No rain, no flowers’.

It seems fitting for a player who, 12 months ago, was injured in this tournament just like the rest of us.

In a metaphorical sense the tattoo means that you must go through adversity to make way for better times later. As for Vondrosova, a losing finalist at the French Open and Olympic Games, she fits the bill.

Vondrosova, coached by Jan Mertl, has been on this stage before the French Open and knows the importance of taking the pressure off.

Marketa Vondrosova’s husband will play in Saturday’s final after missing his Wimbledon run

Jabeur (above) celebrates after beating Aryna Sabalenka to reach the Wimbledon final on Saturday

Whether it’s talking about her obsession with buying trainers – she told Mail Sport in 2019 she owns more than 200 pairs – or sharing stories about her pets, Brownie the pug and Frankie the Sphynx cat, it all helps lift the weight of anticipation. by

Brownie lives with her grandmother but Frankie, the new addition to the family, stays with her husband in Prague. This is what has kept him from coming to SW19 until now.

‘She [Simek] I am coming tomorrow with my sister. We texted the cat sitter to come to our house,’ she said after beating Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals.

Simek rarely travels on tour with his wife, instead staying at home with the cat and staying out of the limelight.

But his role is very present, not least the pep talk he managed to give Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals to help him recover.

The 2019 French Open finalist was trailing 3-1 in the deciding set against the American when play was suspended for more than 20 minutes due to predicted rain closing the roof on Court One.

Vondrosova spoke on the phone with wife Simek during the unexpected stoppage and once play resumed, came from 4-1 down and a break point down to continue her best run, gripping the All England Club 6-4, 2-6. 6-4 success.

‘I haven’t actually seen my coach,’ he said of the weather delay. ‘I was alone in the waiting room.

‘I had a little chat with my husband. We spoke on the phone. He just said, ‘Try to fight, you’re playing well, you’re having a great match’.

‘That was it. I think the break actually helped. It was good.

Vondrusova’s husband, Stepan Simek, looks after their cat, Frankie, at home

Simek (left) will fly with Vondrosova’s sister to see her in her second Slam final

‘His break point was 5-1. You are not in a good mood. I just believed in myself.

‘After the match point, I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t hold back the tears.’

Now for all the genes, and rich family history, it’s Vondrosova, the first unseeded Wimbledon finalist in the Open era, against Ones Jabeur. At No. 42 in the world, Vondrosova is also the second lowest-ranked player to reach the Wimbledon final since the WTA rankings were introduced, with only Serena Williams (No. 181) ranked lower in 2018.

The winner takes home £2.35 million… not bad if you want a few more trainers for the collection.


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