In an exclusive interview given only to VAVEL, I caught up with 20-year old Marketa Vondrousova as she is competing at the Adelaide International. The Czech gave me insight into a variety of topics including her breakthrough 2019, her physical health as she enters 2020 and what she's out to achieve for the new season.
Vondrousova talks about elements of her game that led to breakout 2019 season
After a second round loss to Petra Martic in the second round of the Australian Open, the Czech reached the quarterfinals or better in her next six events, including her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros on her way to a 29-9 record.
Q. You had a breakout 2019 reaching the quarterfinals or better in every event you played between the Australian Open and Roland Garros. What developed in your game that allowed you to have such great success?
VONDROUSOVA: "I think I knew that it was I can play with everyone. I played really good in Indian Wells and Miami (reaching the quarterfinals of both events). I beat Halep. I think the first match with Halep in Indian Wells was the breakthrough for me in the season."
Czech talks about her run to first major final
The then 19-year old reached the championship match in Paris without dropping a set, the first teenager to do so since Caroline Wozniacki at the 2008 US Open. In the final, Vondrousova won just four games against Ashleigh Barty, losing 6-1, 6-3, but gained valuable experience that fortnight.
Q: You made your first major final in Paris. What was that experience like? What did you learn about yourself, your game that you could apply as you were making that great run?
VONDROUSOVA: "I mean, it was amazing. I won like six matches and I lost with Barty in the final, so it was kind of sad, but it was an amazing experience i'll never forget. I was learning in every match I played. I was fighting every point and every game and that was it."
Wrist injury ends 2019, Vondrousova provides update on physical health
Following her appearance in the Roland Garros final, the Czech would soon see her season come to an end following a first-round loss to Madison Brengle at Wimbledon with the discovery of a wrist injury that eventually led to surgery. Adelaide is her first tournament back.
Q: You had an unfortunate injury at Wimbledon that forced you to have surgery, ending your 2019 season early. How do you feel physically now?
VONDROUSOVA: "I'm pain-free now, so I had normal offseason. I played ten practice matches, so I knew I was pain-free, so I knew it was good.
20-year old talks about best methods of keeping her body healthy
After successfully returning in Adelaide, where she reached the quarterfinals, the Czech talks about how to keep her body in top shape for the future.
Q: What's the best way, in your opinion and your team's opinion to approach taking care of your body so you remain consistently healthy for years to come?
VONDROUSOVA: "I mean, like doing good stuff after matches , stretching a lot and doing something with my coach like with my fitness coach and we have some stuff now for my hands and my arms."
Vondrousova talks about what she expects from 2020 season
After reaching a career-high of 14th in the world in late July, Vondrousova is now settled in at 16th and looking to aim higher in both her ranking and results at the biggest events.
Q: Have you set any specific goals for the season? Top 10? Winning a Slam?
VONDROUSOVA: "Yeah, of course. Top 10 is the dream. I'm just happy to be playing here and pain-free, so we'll see how it goes."
The Czech is a crafty player with a complete game as she showed through her 2019 season, but she told me what area of her game needs to improve the most to rise even higher in the rankings.
Q: Do you think there's one specific aspect of your game you need to work on that will take you to an even higher level?
VONDROUSOVA: "Yeah. Serve for sure."
Czech talks about advantages of being a lefty
We concluded the interview by chatting on the fact that the 20-year old is one of the top left-handed players on tour and how that may help her during matches.
Q: We always hear about how being a lefty gives you an advantage. Do you agree? If so, how do you use it?
VONDROUSOVA: "Yeah, also like lefty serve should be like advantage, but it's not for me so much right now, but yeah we are working on it."