Ons Jabeur wiped away tears during a post-match press conference shortly after she came up short in the Wimbledon women’s final on Saturday.
Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova pulled off the stunning upset over Jabeur at the All England Club, claiming 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 she did receive some support from the Princess of Wales.
Jabeur expressed gratitude for Princess Kate’s actions saying, “Hugs are always welcome.” Jabeur has now come up short all three times 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 fell to Iga Swiatek in the 2022 U.S. Open.
“You cannot force things. It wasn’t meant to be,” said Jabeur. “Hopefully I will be like the others that failed a couple of times … and it will come after.”
The 28-year-old Jabeur showed up to the main stadium to warm up before the match wearing black clothes, which is against the All England Club’s rules requiring white attire on the competition courts. “It was just an honest mistake,” she said.
Jabeur was seeded sixth at Wimbledon and beat four past Grand Slam champions along the way to Saturday, including Rybakina.
Jabeur appeared to be the fan favorite throughout the match, with the Tunisian receiving much of the backing from the centre court crowd.
Vondrousova seemed to expect the crowd to be on Vondrousova’s side.
“I feel like everybody likes Ons. I do, too. So I mean you have to be prepared for it,” Vondrousova said. “Many people are looking up to her and they want her to have the Grand Slam so bad. And I feel like she’s going to do it one day. She’s such 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 most important match at her sport’s most important events.
She has established herself as one of the best players in women’s tennis, reaching three of the past five major finals.
And her 28 wins on grass over the past three seasons were the most by anyone since Maria Sharapova picked up 30 victories from 2004-06, a stretch that included a Wimbledon title.
“Will definitely keep learning, keep being positive. I think that’s the thing that will keep me going,” Jabeur said. “Otherwise, if I’m going to be depressed about it, it’s not going to help much.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.