Out of the seven different players on the WTA Tour that advanced to a Grand Slam championship match in 2023, no one had a tougher road to the final than Ons Jabeur at Wimbledon.

The Tunisian had to fight past four former Grand Slam winners in succession to reach her second consecutive title tilt at the All England Club, with this year’s run including a win over Elena Rybakina in a rematch of last year’s final.


Already a pre-tournament favorite, Jabeur appeared poised for a breakthrough in the third major championship bout of her career. Her opponent, Marketa Vondrousova, was on a history-making run of her own as she became the lowest-ranked finalist in 50 years.

Though dozens of spots separated the two in the rankings, Vondrousova had already beaten the sixth seed twice in 2023. If there was ever a surface for Jabeur to turn the tide against the Czech, however, it would be grass, which allowed her to display the versatility in her game to the fullest.


Nerves and a confident player on the other side of the net proved to be her undoing as Jabeur fell in straight sets. Vondrousova claimed the second—and by far, the biggest—title of her career, a truly triumphant moment given the toll injuries had taken the past few seasons.

At the trophy presentation, Jabeur didn’t hold back, fighting through tears to state that this was “the most painful loss” of her career. It prompted an outpouring of support from the crowd, with more than a few of them shedding tears of their own. The Princess of Wales provided consolation to Jabeur, too.

The tennis community rallied behind one of the game’s most popular players, with Hall of Famers Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick reaching out as they both experienced their own fair share of Grand Slam heartbreak.

After it all settled in somewhat, Jabeur expressed with confidence that the mission is far from finished.

If she needed relatively recent inspiration, Jana Novotna and Goran Ivanisevic were able to turn Centre Court disappointment into celebration. Tears were shed, still, but they were ones of joy after they each finally captured the game’s grandest prize.

It’s a path Jabeur appears poised to follow.