Skip to main contentSkip to footer
Ons Jabeur and Kate Middleton

Exclusive: Ons Jabeur sets sights for Wimbledon glory after Princess Kate support

The tennis star is the first African and Arab woman to compete in a women's Grand Slam final

Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
June 30, 2024
Share this:

Trailblazing tennis sensation Ons Jabeur is set to make a triumphant return to Wimbledon this week. Driven by the determination to build on the past two years, the 29-year-old is resolute in her mission to become the first African and the first Arab to win a Grand Slam title. 

Last year, the professional Tunisian tennis player captured the world's hearts - including the Princess of Wales - when she delivered a humble speech following her loss in the women's finals at Wimbledon. The defeat to Marketa Vondrousova was, in Ons' words, the "most painful loss of my career". Watch the clip below...

WATCH: Ons Jabeur reveals heartache after Wimbledon loss

Speaking in an exclusive chat with HELLO! at the ASICS Rally for the Mind event in Paris days before the SW19 tournament, Ons opened up about her goal to clinch the winning title and having the support of Kate, the patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. 

"I feel a great connection with grass courts, so I feel like maybe I'm ready this time," she said. "I'm just going to try it one match at a time and see how it goes," adding: "I think I will take it one step at a time. I struggled with a lot of injuries during this year." 

Contemplating Last Year's Setback

Reflecting on last year's defeat – following her back-to-back runs in the Wimbledon finals – Ons shared: "Not going to lie but it took me maybe months just to get back to playing on tennis courts and to have that joy." 

Ons Jabeur plays tennis© ALBIN DURAND
Ons Jabeur is hoping for Wimbledon success this year

Getting back to training was somewhat of a challenge at first. "I think at certain times, I was just playing because I had to be there," she adds. "You can definitely see the results weren't so great because I think it affected me more than I expected it. 

"I thought crying would help, but it definitely did not"

"I thought crying would help, but it definitely did not. I had more inside me, I had to accept that it is what it is, and I believe in destiny. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I was trying to find that reason to teach me and maybe I will be able to win my first Grand Slam one day." 

Support from the Princess of Wales

In a rare display of emotion, the Princess of Wales appeared to tear up as she watched Ons lose the game. Asked about the royal's support over the past two years, Ons says: "She was really the nicest. She has watched me twice, losing the final twice. 

Kate Middleton consoled Ons Jabeur© Getty
The Princess of Wales consoled Ons Jabeur after her defeat in Wimbledon last year

"She kept asking me if she could hug me, and I was like, 'Who doesn't want a hug from a Princess, you know?' "For me, it was such an amazing moment. And not just that, I felt her kindness and energy around me." 

Ons will be among the many hoping to see the Princess return to Wimbledon – something which is yet to be confirmed by the Palace amid her treatment for cancer. 

Kate Middleton wiping tears© Shutterstock
The Princess was seen getting emotional after the game

"I really wish her a speedy recovery," adds Ons. "I know she's going through a tough time. She's been there when I was struggling, and I hope I can really send my energy there for her. She's such a nice person, and I wish her all the best."

The tennis star also confessed Kate's backing has inspired her more than ever before. "Honestly, it's an honour," continues Ons. "I always try to behave in the nicest way on the court. 

Ons Jabeur's tennis career in numbers

Meet tennis player Ons Jabeur 

Date of Birth: 28 August 1994

Place of Birth: Ksar Hellal, Tunisia

Nationality: Tunisian

Profession: Professional Tennis Player

Highest Singles Ranking: No. 2 (achieved on June 2022) Grand Slam Singles 

Performances: Australian Open: Quarterfinalist (2020) French Open: Quarterfinalist (2020 )Wimbledon: Runner-up (2022, 2023) US Open: Runner-up (2022) 

Notable Achievements: First Arab Woman: To win a WTA title (Birmingham Classic, 2021)To reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam (Australian Open, 2020)To reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open

Background and Personal Life: Started playing tennis at the age of three. Trained at the Lycée Sportif d'El Menzah, a national sports high school in Tunisia. Fluent in Arabic, French, and English. Married to Karim Kamoun, a former fencer who also serves as her fitness coach.

"Sometimes you know, tennis players, we can go crazy. But having her support, I think gives me extra motivation to really play good. Honestly one of the reasons I wanted to win last year was because she was there and she was really supporting me."

Ons Jabeur's Grand Slam Aspirations

Ons first made history at the 2020 Australian Open when she became the first Arab woman to ever reach a grand slam quarter-final. She has since played in two Wimbledon finals, repeating the feat at the US Open. 

"Women can get married, have a job and still enjoy life"

On the pressure to win a Grand Slam singles title – something which she is on course to do in her career – Ons says: "There's a good amount of pressure there, it's completely normal. 

Ons Jabeur plays a backhand against Coco Gauff© Clive Brunskill
The sports star is the first African and Arab woman to compete in a women's Grand Slam final

"It's my choice, I chose to not just play for myself but to play for a lot of people and to inspire a lot of people. Because I know how difficult it is to come from a Muslim country that people might not believe in you and you come from a region where we didn't have a lot of players coming up and winning slams. 

"I feel everything is possible and I want to prove that to everyone. Even when I got married, people thought I was just going to have a baby and stay home - that's not the case. Women can get married, have a job and enjoy life. For me, I decided to replace the word pressure with pleasure." 

The player is hoping to win her first Grand Slam singles title © ALBIN DURAND
The player is hoping to win her first Grand Slam singles title

Ons admits she has been "waiting for this moment and patiently for years now". She adds: "It would mean a lot to me. I feel like I owe it not just to myself but for the people who love and support me and are waiting for that. It's become a bit of a challenge but I want to show that everything is possible." 

Balancing Career and Personal Life

The sports star is married to Karim Kamoun, a Russian-Tunisian former fencer who has been her fitness coach since mid-2017. The couple have hopes of having children one day, with Ons focused on continuing her career well into motherhood. 

Ons Jabeur hugs husband Karim Kamoun © Getty
Ons with her husband Karim Kamoun

"I would probably be playing on and off," she says. "I see myself as a mum for sure. Maybe I'll have a baby and come back [to court] because it's also another challenge that I want to show that it is possible to be a mum and play again. But for sure I see myself having a child." 

"I chose to not just play for myself but for a lot of people and to inspire"

It's been a busy few weeks for Ons, preparing for Wimbledon and becoming the latest brand ambassador for ASICS. "It's an honour," she states. "We share the same values so it's very important for me to work with such an amazing team." 

Ons Jabeur with Karim Kamoun© Getty
The couple hope to have children one day

Talking about the brand's ethos of playing tennis with movement on her mind, Ons explains: "It depends, I always do the work every day to stay focused and relax, you know as much as possible. I have a great team behind me. 

Ons Jabeur© Mateo Villalba
Ons has reached the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open

"So mentally I try to meditate a lot and breathe a lot. I try to get the stress a little bit away. I always say it's always nice to have a little bit of stress and manage it and accept every emotion that comes my way."

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Celebrity News

See more