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Vondrousova: Couldn’t Shake the Nerves

Vondrousova: Couldn't Shake the Nerves

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Photo credit: Rob Newell/CameraSport

Self-doubt stuck to Marketa Vondrousova as tight as the tattoos adorning her arms.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Vondrousova couldn’t shake the nerves or the bold strikes coming from Jessica Bouzas Maneiro’s racquet.

More: Shoulder Injury Knocks Sabalenka Out of Wimbledon

In her Wimbledon main-draw debut, Bouzas Maneiro dethroned defending-champion Vondrousova 6-4, 6-2 in a shocking and historic Wimbledon opening-round upset.

The sixth-seeded Vondrousova made ignominious history.

Thirty-years after American serve-and-volleyer Lori McNeil stunned Steffi Graf 7-5, 7-6 in a rain-interrupted Wimbledon opener, Vondrousova became the first defending ladies’ champion to crash out of The Championships first round.

Today, an unsettled Vondrousova was stalled by a hip injury, spooked by spiking nerve and unable to solve the 21-year-old Spaniard.

“I think practice was fine and everything. Yeah, today I was a bit scared because of my leg, too,” Vondrousova told the media at Wimbledon. “But I don’t think that was the reason. I felt the nervous from the start.

“Yeah, I mean, she was also playing a good match. That was kind of tough, too.

“Overall it was very tough. Yeah, it’s tough feelings also to go back. I feel like everybody just expects you to win maybe. That’s tough, too.”

Signs of jitters were evident in the opening game as the left-handed Czech clanked three double faults gift-wrapping the break—and a boost of confidence to the Wimbledon main-draw debutant.

“Today I was really nervous since the start. I, like, couldn’t maybe shake it off,” Vondrousova said. “Yeah, also she was playing good. I didn’t, I don’t know, like had many chances to come back to the match or she didn’t give me much free points also.

“Yeah, credits to her. I’m going to be back stronger, I hope.”

Though Vondrousova was clearly physically compromised, credit the 83rd-ranked Spaniard for scoring a series of firsts. Bouzas Maneiro scored her first major main-draw win, her first grass-court win and her first Top 10-win in a career moment that left her nearly pinching back tears of joy.

Across the net, you have to feel for Vondrousova, who has endured her share of personal pain a year after ascending to professional peak.

Last April, Vondrousova announced she and husband Stepan Simek were in the process of divorcing—and her husband had taken her…

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