Marketa Vondrousova reached the 2019 French Open final on the strength of consistent play and a draw that absolutely went her way – and that she fully maximized.
But since then, little has gone right for the Czech lefty, who turned 20 in late June.
She lost in the second round of Eastbourne on the grass, to Elise Mertens.
And then, she was beaten in the first round at Wimbledon by American veteran Madison Brengle.
She hasn’t played since.
That’s an absence of more than six months after struggling with a left wrist injury even during the run in Paris. She finally had surgery on it in mid-September.
Vondrousova returns in Adelaide this week – with one tournament to prep before the Australian Open.
She’s still ranked No. 16 in the world – down only two spots from her career-best No. 14 just before Wimbledon.
Here’s how she looked on Monday, during a practice session with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Four months post-surgery
If there are no expectations for Melbourne next week, neither is there much to defend; Vondrousova lost in the second round a year ago.
But after that, she faces a challenge similar to the one that another 2019 breakout star, Bianca Andreescu (who won Indian Wells, the Rogers Cup and the US Open) will have to take on: defending points.
Then ranked No. 81, Vondrousova reached the final of a smaller tournament in Budapest in February (she can play Doha and Dubai this year, as can Andreescu, and more than make that up).
She also made the quarters in both Indian Wells and Miami, and another final at an April clay-court tournament in Istanbul. So it’s coming on quickly.
Lucky loser Tatjana Maria will be her first-round opponent in Adelaide on Tuesday.
In Melbourne, she will be teaming up in doubles with her great friend Cici Bellis, the American who has had FOUR surgeries and a nightmare of a time over the last two years.
That’s a comeback tandem anyone can get behind.