WTA Tour

Rising star Vondrousova - the new Navratilova

2017-04-27 16:16
Marketa Vondrousova (Getty)

Prague - Czech teen sensation Marketa Vondrousova was being hailed as a rising star in the mould of tennis great Martina Navratilova after climbing 119 places in the WTA rankings in just two weeks.

Ranked 233rd, Vondrousova won her maiden WTA title at the Biel/Bienne Open on April 16, rising to the top from qualifying.

A week later, she managed her Fed Cup debut in the Czech Republic's defeat at the hands of the United States, losing to 23rd-ranked Coco Vandeweghe and beating world number 35 Lauren Davis.

"It's all terribly quick now," the 17-year-old world number 114 told reporters in Prague on Thursday, ahead of her next tournament starting in the Czech capital on May 1.

"I guess I still haven't realised what I've achieved."

The left-handed teenager - former world number one in the junior class - has had to review her plans for the season after earning a spot in Grand Slam qualifying.

"I played my first Grand Slam as a junior in Paris and made it to the semi-finals (in 2014), so I'm looking forward to that -- but I'm looking forward to Wimbledon too, and to all of them."

Vondrousova has an impressive record of 41 wins and five losses this year, following an eight-month break from tennis due to an elbow injury.

"She realised how much she missed tennis and her will to win increased," said Zdenek Kubik, who coaches her together with Czech tennis legend Jiri Hrebec.

"That was the biggest motivation for her to start playing and her results immediately started to reflect that -- it was something that she really wanted."

Vondrousova said she had suffered when she saw her peers reaching the top 200, while she was sidelined.

"I was ahead of them as a junior, and now they were up there.

"So I started each game telling myself I want to win, I was focused, and that's the reason why I'm doing well now."

"I have found out I can play against anyone," said Vondrousova, who beat 17th-ranked compatriot Barbora Strycova on her way to the Biel triumph.

Born on June 28, 1999, Vondrousova started playing tennis at four in her western Czech hometown of Sokolov, before moving to Prague at 10.

Home is still the favourite place to relax for the secondary school student who combined tennis with floorball, football and athletics as a child.

Family support is essential, she insists.

"The entire family talks about tennis, I think they're quite excited, mum especially," she said.

Former tennis player and now coach Pavel Hutka recalled how he first saw Vondrousova when she came to play in Prague when six.

"I thought maybe I'd just seen a new Martina Navratilova," he said.

Vondrousova, who had an opportunity to talk to the Czech-born Navratilova during the Fed Cup tie, played down any comparisons.

"I'd say I have a pretty long way to go there."

"But I've recently played some good tennis and if I can carry on, that would be just great."

Read more on:    wta  |  tennis
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