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Vondrousova Beats Jabeur to Become First Unseeded Wimbledon Women’s Champion

Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic lifts the Women’s Singles Trophy as she celebrates victory following the Women’s Singles Final against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia on day thirteen of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2023 in London, England. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Wimbledon—Grass-court tennis was once a rocky road for Marketa Vondrousova.

Today, Vondrousova transformed Centre Court lawn into the ultimate feel-good platform.

Competing with calm desire, world No. 42 Vondrousova swept an error-prone Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 to become the first unseeded Wimbledon women’s champion in history.

Down a break in both sets, Vondrousova never pressed the panic button rolling through five of the final six games to deny Jabeur’s dream of becoming the first African, first Arab and first Tunisian woman to capture a Grand Slam singles title.

On her second championship point, Vondrousova intercepted a pass, blocked a volley and dropped to her knees in an eruption of emotion.

The 24-year-old from Sokolov, who arrived in SW19 with one career title and two career main-draw grass wins, joins Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova as the third Czech woman to raise the Rosewater Dish. She realized her dream with Czech-born legend Martina Navratilova watching from the Royal Box. 

The 24-year-old from Sokolov, who arrived in SW19 with one career title and two career main-draw grass wins, joins Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova as the third Czech woman to raise the Rosewater Dish. She realized her dream with Czech-born legend Martina Navratilova watching from the Royal Box. 

“I don’t know what’s happening right now. It’s an amazing feeling,” Vondrousova told Annabel Croft in her on-court interview. “Ons, you are such an inspiration for all of us. I hope you are going to win one day—you are an amazing person.”

It’s an absolutely astounding triumph for Vondrousova, who attended Wimbledon as a fan last year.

Recovering from wrist surgery with a cast wrapping her left wrist, Vondrousova would have struggled to pick up a packed racquet bag 12 months ago.

Today, she raised the Rosewater Dish with pure joy as her family, including husband Stepan Simek, beamed with pride after embracing her in a collective group hug.

It will be a dual celebration for Vondrousova, who will celebrate her one-year wedding anniversary tomorrow with a family party in London.

Dropped by her long-time sponsor Nike as her ranking plummeted to No. 99 at the end of 2022, Vondrousova was unsure if she’d ever reproduce the dynamic tennis that made her the 2019 Roland Garros runner-up and Olympic silver medalist.  

On the most iconic stage in the sport, the most heavily tattooed player in tennis made an indelible mark defeating five seeded opponents to capture her maiden major and second career title.

“After everything I been through, I had a cast last year at this time, It’s amazing I can stand here and hold this,” Vondrousova said. “It’s amazing.

“The comebacks aren’t easy—you never know what to expect—after the second one I was hoping I can come back at this level and now this is happening.”

Unseeded and unconquerable, Vondrousova played the pressure points with more care converting six of seven break points. Vondrousova is the lowest-ranked women’s Wimbledon champion and the 10th lowest-ranked women’s Grand Slam champion in the Open Era.

Three-time Grand Slam runner-up Jabeur was pure class in defeat after a horrific performance that saw her blow one-break leads in both sets, scatter 31 unforced errors—18 more than her opponent—and repeatedly send shot after shot into the tape.

Ultimately, Jabeur just could not get enough net clearance when the left-handed Vondrousova hit her twisting high topspin forehand crosscourt into the Tunisian’s two-hander.

The Tunisian trailblazer looked devastated afterward raising the runner-up trophy and pushing back tears as Vondrousova and most in the capacity Centre Court crowd stood and saluted the two-time Wimbledon finalist with an extended ovation.

The tears on her face told the story of the pain within as Jabeur, who showed so much guts defeating four Grand Slam champions to reach the final, knows this may well have been her best shot at mastering a major.

Afterward, a gutted Jabeur called it the most painful defeat of her career.

“This is very, very tough—I’m gonna look ugly in the photos so it’s not gonna help,” Jabeur said. “I think this is the most painful loss of my career.

“I want to say congratulations to Marketa and her team for this amazing tournament. You’re an amazing person and I know you’ve had a lot of injuries so I’m very happy for you.”

Through the suffering, Jabeur vowed to return stronger.

“It’s gonna be a tough day for me today but I’m not gonna give up. I’m gonna come back stronger,” Jabeur said.

“I promise I will come back one day and win this tournament.”

Undoubtedly, Vondrousova played cleaner tennis between the lines. Ultimately, she won this title with clarity between the ears. Vondrousova looked down and out in the quarterfinals trailing fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula 1-4 in the final set on No. 1 Court only to surge through five straight games in a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 triumph that propelled her positive self belief.

Stepping to serve for the title, Vondrousova looked calm while her husband and her sister, who was in near tears in the box, were leaning forward intently. Another Jabeur error gave Vondrousova triple championship point.

Vondrousova double faulted on her first championship point.

Resetting, the Czech didn’t wait for an error, she took it right to Jabeur. Vondrousova knocked off a volley and dropped to the grass and arose as Grand Slam champion.

It’s the sixth time in the last seven years Wimbledon crowned a maiden women’s champion.

An elated Vondrousova said she’ll celebrate with family and beer before a big day tomorrow.

In addition to her wedding anniversary, Vondrousova will help her coach keep a bet he made to her long ago: To get a tattoo if she ever won a Grand Slam title.