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Markéta Vondroušová books a cat sitter after earning an unlikely spot in her first Wimbledon final

<i>Andrew Couldridge/Reuters</i><br/>Markéta Vondroušová reacts to her Wimbledon semifinal victory against Elina Svitolina. Vondroušová booked a cat sitter after earning an unlikely spot in her first Wimbledon final.
Andrew Couldridge/Reuters
Markéta Vondroušová reacts to her Wimbledon semifinal victory against Elina Svitolina. Vondroušová booked a cat sitter after earning an unlikely spot in her first Wimbledon final.

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — What do you do immediately after reaching your first Wimbledon final? Book a cat sitter, if you’re Markéta Vondroušová.

The unusual priority means the Czech tennis star’s husband and sister, both back home looking after Frankie the Sphynx cat, can attend Saturday’s final, which will see the unseeded Vondroušová take on Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

It’s safe to say that the 24-year-old hadn’t expected to progress this far at Wimbledon. She’s the first unseeded woman in the Open Era to reach the final of the tournament having never previously progressed beyond the second round at SW19.

In her semifinal, Vondroušová needed just an hour and 15 minutes to defeat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in straight sets.

“When it was clay or hard, maybe I would say, yeah, it’s possible,” she told reporters when asked if this kind of performance at a grand slam seemed possible a year ago. “But grass was impossible for me. It’s even crazier that this is happening.”

Vondroušová, an Olympic silver medalist who also reached the final of the French Open as a teenager in 2019, has endured several lengthy injury layoffs during her young career and missed much of 2022 after undergoing a second round of surgery on her left wrist.

She was dropped by Nike last year and is currently competing without a clothing sponsor, though that’s likely to change in the near future after her sensational run at Wimbledon.

“I think it’s pretty amazing what’s happening,” said Vondroušová. “You have to just have the people around you who are going to stay with you and do the things for you, let you focus on the game.”

Entering Wimbledon ranked No. 42 in the world, Vondroušová has had a tough run to the final, defeating fourth-seeded American Jessica Pegula in the final eight.

But the left-hander has shown herself to be a tough opponent over the past fortnight, deploying slice and drop-shots to excellent effect on the grass.

Jabeur, last year’s beaten finalist at Wimbledon, also boasts a wide-ranging selection of shots and the pair are evenly matched across their previous six meetings, winning three apiece.

And there’s not only a first grand slam title on the line for both players. Vondroušová, immediately recognizable due to the series of tattoos running down both her arms, has also struck a deal with her coach.

“I have a bet with my coach,” she said. “If I win a grand slam, he’s going to get one, so I hope I will.”

And as Vondroušová said herself on Thursday: “Anything can happen in tennis.”

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