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‘My most painful loss’: Tearful Jabeur vows to end Grand Slam misery

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur. Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Tearful Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur described her third defeat in a Grand Slam final as the “most painful” of her career as she vowed to learn from the tennis greats who were also jinxed at the majors.

World number six Jabeur was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday, one year after she lost the Wimbledon final to Elena Rybakina.

More pain followed at the US Open later in the year where she was runner-up again, this time to Iga Swiatek.

The 28-year-old is only the eighth woman to lose her first three Grand Slam finals.

However, she can take comfort from knowing that the likes of Chris Evert, Kim Clijsters and Simona Halep also suffered the same fate before going on to capture Grand Slam titles.

“It will be tough to speak. I am going to look ugly in the photos so that’s not going to help,” said Jabeur after again being thwarted in her bid to become the first Arab or African woman to win a Grand Slam singles title.

“I think this is the most painful loss of my career.”

She added defiantly: “I promise I will come back one day and win this tournament.”

Former world number one Clijsters lost the 2001 and 2003 French Open finals, the US Open title match in 2003 and the Australian Open final in 2004.

But the Belgian eventually ended her career as a four-time major champion, winning her first in New York in 2005.

“I love Kim so much. She’s a great inspiration for me,” said Jabeur who was consoled by Clijsters behind the scenes at Centre Court.

“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. 

“She was telling me all the time she lost four. That’s why I know the information, otherwise would have been tough. But, yeah, that’s the positive out of it. You cannot force things. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Hugs from a princess

The popular Jabeur also received a warm embrace from Kate, the Princess of Wales, who presented the trophies.

“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,” Jabeur said.

When asked what Princess Kate told her following, she revealed: “Same thing after last year.

“To encourage me to be strong, to come back and win a Grand Slam, win a Wimbledon. Obviously she was very nice.”

Jabeur led 2-0 and 4-2 in the first set on Saturday before the 24-year-old Vondrousova hit back.

The Tunisian’s 15 unforced errors in the first set were key as the Czech left-hander committed a miserly six.

Jabeur was 3-1 ahead in the second set but still couldn’t convert the advantage as Vondrousova, who missed last year’s Wimbledon due to wrist surgery, mounted another comeback.

“It’s painful because you feel so close to achieving something that you want, and actually back to square one,” added Jabeur.

“Again, I just try to get rid of these negative thoughts and continue being positive.”


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