After the Tunisian defeat, the Princess of Wales speaks to Ons Japier.
Ones Japier is the favorite to win the women’s title on Saturday, and many expect the Tunisian to become the first Arab to win a Grand Slam and the first African woman to do so.
But the burden of making history was heavy as she fell to 28-year-old Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets. Disappointment was evident as tears flowed as the trophy was presented. In the players’ box, her husband too could not hide his emotion.
A Wimbledon title is the Grand Slam she wants more than any other, but for the second year in a row Zabiur had to settle for the runners-up trophy.
Zabeer was in tears at center court after his final loss.
“I’m trying, but it’s very difficult,” she said, wiping her eyes as she tried to address the center court crowd. “I think it’s the most painful loss of my life.”
Jabur’s reaction tugged at the heartstrings, so much so that he was comforted by the Princess of Wales, who recalled Czech Jana Novotna crying on the Duchess of Kent’s shoulder during the trophy presentation in 1993. British tennis fans might as well. I remember Andy Murray’s tearful speech after his 2012 men’s final defeat.
Asked what the Princess of Wales said at the time, Jaber told reporters: “The same thing after last year: to encourage me to be strong, to come back and win a Grand Slam, to win Wimbledon.
“She’s obviously very nice. She doesn’t know if she wants to hug me or not. I said her hugs are always welcome from me. It was a nice moment, she’s always nice to me.
Japier revealed he cried in the locker room with Kim Clijsters after losing his first four Grand Slam finals. The Belgian finished his career with four majors.
“I felt a lot of pressure, a lot of stress,” he said of the minutes leading up to the match. “But like every final, like every match I’ve played, I told myself it’s okay, it’s normal. Honestly I did nothing wrong. I did my best.
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Vondrousova fell to the grass after a famous victory.
“But, yes, I think things will take time with me. Again, I said it shouldn’t be this time. Hopefully I’ll be like the others who failed to do it twice, and that will come later.
Zabeer added: “There are so many things I should have done. Not serving well didn’t help. And Marketa returns every ball. I had a good serve but she was there. It didn’t help my service much.
“My back hand is not here. Again, I think playing two different players hasn’t helped in the last few matches. Yeah, I don’t think I played very well. But that didn’t take away from the competition that Marketa did.
Vondrousova made history on Saturday, becoming the first unseeded woman to win the prestigious tournament in the Open era. The last Wimbledon finalist was Billie Jean King in 1963.
The 24-year-old Czech, playing in his second Grand Slam final, was brilliant on grass and his range of shots outplayed sixth seed Zabiur.
Jabir became the fifth seed to fall to the left-hander at Wimbledon this year, his unpredictability making it difficult for his opponents to deal with. Jabir in particular struggled despite several chances to take control of the match.
It was a well-deserved win for a player who was in London as a tourist last year and is still recovering from surgery on her left wrist.
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Vondroušová is the latest in a long line of Czech Wimbledon champions.
“I’m very grateful and proud of myself,” he told reporters.
“When I come back [from injury], I don’t know what will happen if I play at that level again. I mean, it seems impossible. I didn’t play well on grass before. I think it’s a very unlikely Grand Slam for me to win, so I don’t think about it.
“When we came in, I said, ‘Try to win two matches.’ Now this has happened, it’s crazy.
Not only will Vondroušová add to her own tattoo collection, but her coach will also get one to mark the win.
“I think I’ll pick him,” he said. “Maybe we’ll get the same.”
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