Vondrousova is the tattoo and trainer-obsessed Wimbledon finalist

Marketa Vondrousova is tattoo-obsessed and owns more than 200 pairs of trainers… the Czech star is from a family of athletes and is now going for Wimbledon glory – and her cat-sitting husband will be there to watch!

  • Marketa Vondrousova takes on Ons Jabeur in Saturday’s Wimbledon final
  • The Czech athlete comes from a lineage of sporting stars and is herself thriving
  • She is tattoo and trainer obsessed when she’s not in action on the WTA Tour 

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

Daughter of Jindřiška Anderlová, a once prominent volleyball star for Slavia Prague, and granddaughter of František Frk, the Czech national pentathlon champion in 1935, it was no surprise when a young Marketa was gifted at every sport.

‘She started playing floorball and immediately started scoring goals for the school,’ her dad David explained to tenisovysvet.cz.

‘She was also great at running or playing football with the boys. When we put a ping-pong bat in her hand, she immediately started winning.’

Dad David and mum Jindřiška divorced when she was three but it was decided early on that they would put any differences aside to help boost her sporting prospects. 

Marketa Vondrousova (pictured) takes on Ons Jabeur in the final at Wimbledon on Saturday

The Czech athlete comes from a lineage of sporting stars and is herself thriving in tennis

‘From the beginning, it was my vision that Markéta could play sports at the highest level. It was clear that she was up to it,’ her dad, who was the driving force behind her starting tennis aged four, added.

‘I had a good relationship with tennis. I never played it competitively, but I had a sporty grandfather and he started playing it recreationally with me at the age of twelve,’ he explained. 

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

Vondrousova grew up in Sokolov, a small town in the Czech Republic which is two hours from Prague and is close to the border with Germany. 

She quickly became a talking point in junior tournaments and the constant travelling soon made little sense as a teenager, seeing her take the plunge to move to Prague on her own to train at 14 years old.

Clay was – and is – her preferred surface, it is what she grew up playing on and so when she reached the French Open final in 2019 that felt the natural path to prosperity. 

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

Even with her six wins and run to the Wimbledon final, she remarkably still has a losing record on grass, standing at 10 wins and 11 losses. She can level the field with her first ever Grand Slam on Saturday. 

Vondrousova, a former junior world No 1, is by her own admission a quiet and calm character. They are two characteristics that have served her well and youth coaches all noted her poise on court made her stand out from peers. 

But while she is fine being understated, it was the individual nature of tennis that appealed. It was one reason why she was happy to turn her back on football. 

Vondrousova, pictured left in 2022, now has a huge assortment of tattoos on each arm (right) 

She remarkably still has a losing record on grass, with 10 wins and 11 losses ahead of the final

While there is a side to her that is introverted, Vondrousova expresses herself through other means and soon found her feet in Prague. 

At 16, as she juggled school, which was specifically worked out to help her progress her tennis alongside, she met her now husband, IT manager Stepan Simek.

She would also begin her love affair with tattoos, which has since seen her treat her body like a doodles board, with various designs, both with a tattoo gun and also through stick-and-poke. 

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

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

As for her many designs – she is largely selective on how much she reveals publicly. 

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

It feels apt for a player that, 12 months ago was missing this tournament injured and watching like the rest of us.  

In a figurative sense that tattoo means you must go through adversity to make way for the good times later on. For Vondrousova, a losing finalist in the French Open and the Olympic Games, she fits the bill.

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

Marketa Vondrousova’s husband will fly in for Saturday’s final after missing her Wimbledon run

Jabeur (above) celebrates after beating Aryna Sabalenka to reach Saturday’s Wimbledon final

Whether it is talking about her obsession with buying trainers – back in 2019 she told Mail Sport she owned 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 expectation.

Brownie lives with her grandma but Frankie, the newest addition to the family, is in Prague with her husband. It is what has held him back from coming to SW19 until now.  

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

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

But his role is very present, not least the pep talk he was able to rouse to help get her over the line in a gripping quarter-final with Jessica Pegula.

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 to allow the Court One roof to be closed due to forecasted rain.

Vondrousova spoke on the phone with spouse Simek during the unexpected stoppage and, once play resumed, battled back from 4-1 and a break point down to continue her greatest run at the All England Club with a gripping 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 success.

‘I actually didn’t see my coach,’ she said of the weather delay. ‘I was alone in the waiting room.

‘I chatted a bit with my husband. We talked on the phone. He just said, ‘try to fight, you are playing good, you are playing a great match’.

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

Vondrousova’s husband Stepan Simek has been at home looking after their cat called Frankie

Simek (left) will be flying over with Vondrousova’s sister to see her in her second Slam final

‘She had break points for 5-1. You are not in a good mood. I just kept belief in myself.

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

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

Winner takes home £2.35million… not bad if you want some more trainers for the collection. 

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