Ons Jabeur wiped away tears during a post-match press conference shortly after coming up short in the Wimbledon women’s final on Saturday.
Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic edged out Jabeur at the All England Club to win the first Grand Slam title of her career. Vondrousova became the first unseeded woman to win Wimbledon.
Jabeur described the loss as «the most painful loss of my career», but received some support from the Princess of Wales.
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Jabeur expressed her gratitude for Princess Kate’s actions saying, «Hugs are always welcome.» Jabeur has now come up short on all three occasions that she has advanced to a Grand Slam final.
Last year, Jabeur was defeated by Elena Rybakina in the final at the All England Club. Jabeur lost to Iga Swiatek at the 2022 US Open.
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«You can’t force things. It wasn’t meant to be,» Jabeur said. «Hopefully I’ll be like the others who failed a couple of times… and it will come later.»
Jabeur, 28, turned up at the main stadium to warm up before the match wearing black, which is against All England Club rules that require white clothing on competition pitches. «It was just an honest mistake,» he said.
Jabeur was seeded sixth at Wimbledon and has beaten four previous Grand Slam champions through Saturday, including Rybakina.
Jabeur appeared to be a fan favorite throughout the match, with the Tunisian receiving much of the backing from the Center Court crowd.
Vondrousova seemed to expect the crowd to be on Vondrousova’s side.
«I feel like everybody likes Ons. Me too. So I mean you have to be ready for that,» Vondrousova said. «A lot of people look up to her and want so much for her to have the Grand Slam. And I feel like she will one day do it. She is an amazing person and I think she has many more to come.»
Now Jabeur will regroup and try to figure out how to get back to the biggest game at the biggest events in his sport.
She has established herself as one of the best players in women’s tennis, reaching three of the last five major finals.
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And her 28 grass-court wins in the past three seasons were the most by anyone since Maria Sharapova had 30 wins between 2004 and 2006, a stretch that included a Wimbledon title.
«I’ll definitely keep learning, I’ll keep being positive. I think that’s what’s going to keep me going,» Jabeur said. «Otherwise, if I’m going to be depressed about it, it’s not going to help much.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.