London: Ons Jabeur, the world No 5 Tunisian who lost the Wimbledon women’s singles final to 17th seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, has asserted she is going to “come back and win a Grand Slam”, and that it could be as early as the final Slam of the season — the US Open.
Jabeur lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to Rybakina on Saturday, but earned the distinction of becoming the first Tunisian, Arab or African woman in the Open Era to make a Slam singles final.
“I don’t disbelieve in myself and I know that I’m going to come back and win a Grand Slam, for sure. This is tennis, and it’s part of it. I have to learn from it, definitely. But I’m very, very positive about it,” the 27-year-old was quoted as saying by wtatennis.com.
“It’s a great first experience for me. I’m looking forward to my next finals. I’m sure I will learn a lot from this one. But a positive two weeks for me. I’m just going to keep my head high,” she added.
Before she came to Wimbledon, Jabeur had not progressed beyond the quarter-final stage at a major. Though she came into the third major of the year off the back of her second title of the season in Berlin, she had lost in the French Open first round after a similarly strong run-up.
The Tunisian attributed the loss on Saturday to the booming serves of the six-foot tall Rybakina.
“It is frustrating to play someone that serves really big and doesn’t give you the chance sometimes to take that break. I just was telling myself, like, ‘This is not over, I trust you.’ I even said, ‘I love you,’ to myself during the match. It wasn’t meant to be.”
With No 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland losing in the third round, Jabeur had emerged firm favourite for the crown, given that she had not suffered a loss on grass in over a year before she was conquered by Rybakina on Saturday.
“I’m very glad with my results. I don’t regret anything. I gave it all today. A final, I lose so many at the beginning (of my career), then step back and win one more.”
The Tunisian will now play back-to-back WTA 1000s in Toronto and Cincinnati, leading into the US Open. “I really cannot wait to play my next tournament, especially that I’m going to the States, and I know there is a lot of crazy fans there. This is just the beginning of so many things. I’m very positive about it. I wanted really bad that title. Maybe because I want it too much, I didn’t have it.”