Wimbledon: A emotional Ons Jabeur told the Princess of Wales that “hugs are welcome” as the pair hugged in the aftermath of her Wimbledon final loss to Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday.
It was an unwanted reminder of a similar interaction with Kate Middleton this time last year, when she was denied victory at the All England Club by Elena Rybakina.
On Centre Court, Jabeur, who also came runner-up at the 2022 US Open, stated that her loss to first-time Grand Slam champion Vondrousova was the “most painful of her career.”
Matching words of encouragement greeted her as she pursued her first Grand Slam crown.
“Same thing as last year,” she stated of the Princess of Wales’ message. “To inspire me to be strong, to return and win a Grand Slam, a Wimbledon. She was obviously really kind.
“She wasn’t sure if she wanted to hug me or not. I informed her that hugs from me are always appreciated. That was a lovely moment, and she’s usually lovely to me.”
In her press conference, Jabeur was reminded that Chrissie Evert, Simona Halep, and Kim Clijsters all lost their first three Grand Slam finals before going on to find later success, with the world No. 6 adding that Clijsters actually lost her first four before winning three US Open titles and an Australian Open.
“We were crying together in the locker room,” Jabeur said, smiling.
“I’m crazy about Kim. She is a huge source of motivation for me. I spent some time as a child observing her. I believe it’s invaluable that she takes the time to offer me advise, embrace me, and always be there for me.
“She was telling me the whole time she lost four. That’s why I have the knowledge; otherwise, it would have been difficult. But, yes, that is a wonderful outcome. Things cannot be forced. It wasn’t supposed to be. It wasn’t supposed to be.”
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