Tennis - 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova says her career on the junior circuit has prepared her for her professional career. The Czech left-hander reached her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros earlier this month and was beaten by Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the final.
Speaking to ITF, Vondrousova spoke about her experience on the junior circuit where she won the junior Grand Slam doubles titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2015. "Tennis is a long journey to get to the professional level.
When you become one of the top juniors in the world, it is a lot of hard work and a lot of tears to get there. You think you have achieved something incredible and that you are very close to becoming a successful professional player.
But then you realise that getting from juniors to Top 100 is even harder and getting to Top 20 is another level of hard work, sacrifices and learning in order to overcome obstacles. Every match and every situation taught me something and made me stronger”.
Speaking about her run in Paris where she became the first teenager since Ana Ivanovic in 2007 to reach the final of the French Open, Vondrousova commented, "The achievement of reaching the final is an incredible and overwhelming feeling.
It still hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m still trying to process it and learn from it. I played a lot of tough matches against top players in Paris over the two weeks and I could feel I grew mentally stronger and improved my game with every match.
I was so grateful to see my whole team come for the finals, especially my mum, and upon arrival in Prague I had a really nice welcome. It was all a mixture of feelings – happiness for achieving this big result, sadness for not winning the last match, tiredness from playing tough matches for two weeks and excitement from the congratulations and support”.
The Czech left-hander says learning to deal with losses has helped her succeed in the game. “It doesn’t matter how many times you lose. Everyone will lose a lot of times and losses hurt no matter how old you are. Nobody wants to lose but if you turn the losses into motivation to get better, you will eventually succeed”.