“I had one coach in the city when I was born, and he played this kind of stuff – drop shots and stuff – so I maybe learned it from him,” said Vondrousova, who cites Kvitova and Belgian Kim Clijsters as her idols. “I just like this game. It's very fun for me, and I'm just enjoying it.”
Pressed on what exactly “her game” was when playing well, Vondrousova offered three words before expanding.
“Play drop shots,” she smiled. “No, I'm just trying to play aggressive and maybe, like, mix the points, and I just want to serve well and move well. Yeah, I think all of this is my game.”
Tattoo offers perspective
Vondrousova made her tour debut at home in Prague in 2016 and after contesting the Roland-Garros junior event soon after she did not play again for the rest of the season due to an elbow injury.
Patience was paramount, particularly given an insatiable teenage hunger for success. When she returned in 2017, she won 20 straight matches in ITF events before clinching her maiden tour title in April in Switzerland.
A four-word tattoo above Vondrousova’s right elbow now offers perspective of her time on the sidelines. It reads: “No rain, no flowers.”
“Yeah, it’s tough when you have injuries and you have to play good and everything is not good,” Vondrousova said when asked about the tattoo. “Last year was really tough for me because I had injuries. I couldn't play my best tennis.”
Peaked visor for peak performance
With superstitions and quirks the norm among her fellow pros, Vondrousova has developed her own habit – squishing the brim of her hat.
More akin to American baseballers, the Czech explains it started early and it stuck. “I don't know. I'm doing it since I was a kid. It's my thing,” she said, before putting a kibosh on the idea of a flat-brimmed visor. “No, I don’t like it.”