Heartbroken Jabeur: “Hopefully I’ll be like the others that failed a couple of times and it will come after”
Ons Jabeur spoke to the media about her feelings following a third straight defeat in a Grand Slam final
Ons Jabeur wept copiously after the Wimbledon final, with Catherine, Princess of Wales, one of the first to comfort her – slightly reminiscent of Jana Novotna being consoled by the Duchess of Kent back in 1993.
The Tunisian said the princess had told her the “same thing as last year: to encourage me to be strong, to come back and win a Grand Slam, win a Wimbledon. Obviously she was very nice. She didn’t know if she wants to give me a hug or not. I told her hugs are always welcome from me. That was a very nice moment and she’s always nice to me.”
But perhaps the more meaningful words of advice came from Kim Clijsters, who spoke to her in the locker room afterwards. The Belgian lost her first four Slam finals; Jabeur has now lost three.
Clijsters did, however, go on to win her next four, finishing her career as a three-time US Open champion with an Australian Open title as well.
“I love Kim so much,” said Jabeur. “She’s a great inspiration for me. I grew up watching her a bit. The fact that she takes the time to give me advice and to really hug me, always be there for me, I think it’s priceless.”
Jabeur: I felt a lot of pressure and stress
Jabeur did her best to remain positive, but it seemed that she had struggled with being a heavy favourite to win a maiden Grand Slam.
“Honestly, I felt a lot of pressure, feeling a lot of stress. But like every final, like every match I played, I was telling myself it’s okay, it’s normal. I honestly did nothing wrong. I did everything that I could.
“But, yeah, I think things take time with me. Again, I said it wasn’t meant to be this time. Hopefully I will be like the others that failed couple of times to do it and it will come after.”
This defeat stung, though, more than any other, as she explained: “Because I already lost two [Grand Slam] finals, and this is the third one. I don’t know. I felt I was doing everything right. Again, with the same thing that happened last year – it’s painful because you feel so close to achieving something that you want, and actually back to square one. Again, just try to get rid of these negative thoughts and continue being positive.”