By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, July 15, 2023
Wimbledon—The closed Centre Court roof tamed turbulence for Marketa Vondrousova.
The 42nd-ranked Czech rallied from a break down in both sets reeling off five of the last six games to sweep Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4 and make history as the first unseeded Wimbledon women’s champion.
The final was played beneath the closed roof despite the fact it wasn’t raining because the London forecast called for both rain and extreme wind gusts.
Afterward the 24-year-old Vondrousova, who grew up playing indoor tennis in Prague during winter season, said the closed retractable roof helped her for two reasons:
1. She didn’t have to worry about conditions wreaking havoc with her ball toss, which is higher than Jabeur’s toss.
2. She’s comfortable playing indoors.
“I think it’s better for me,” Vondrousova said of the roof. “I think they told us around 10. I had warm-up at 11.
“I just said, Let’s go outside. It was very windy, so it was a bit different.”
Three-time Grand Slam finalist Jabeur said closing the retractable roof may have aided her opponent, but “it is what it is.”
“Maybe it helped her today to play good and put more balls in. I don’t know if the roof was open would have been a different story maybe for both of us,” Jabeur said. “But, yeah, it is what it is. It happened.
“I’m very happy for her that she won her first Grand Slam. I know she’s a player that has been very injured, like, a lot of times. I wish her all the best. Hopefully she can win more Grand Slams.”
During her final three Wimbledon wins, the retractable roof played a role in Vondrousova’s remarkable run to her maiden major title.
No. 4-seeded Jessica Pegula broke for a 3-1 lead in the final set over Vondrousova in the quarterfinals to seize momentum before an energetic Court No. 1 crowd that included Hall of Famer Stan Smith as well as U.S. Billie Jean King Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi.
Then the threat of rain—and a shower—prompted suspension of play to close the retractable roof.
When play resumed, Vondrousova fell behind 1-4 before surgining through five straight games defeating Pegula.
Playing beneath the closed ceiling in the semifinals against wild card Elina Svitolina, Vondrousova barely mis-hit a ball and applied her finesse in a straight-sets win.
“I mean, the roof can help you with serve,” Vondrousova said. “You don’t have to focus on the wind so much. I feel like everything is the same on every side.
“I think you just have to focus on the game, not on the wind, not even on the sun. I think that’s a good thing. I’m used to playing indoors. We practice in Prague in winter indoors. I always play good indoors. I was like, yeah, maybe that’s going to help me.”