In a new documentary, Ons Jabeur reveals that losing the 2023 Wimbledon final was heartbreaking not only because she missed her third chance at becoming a Grand Slam champion, but also because she had planned that if she achieved that goal, she could take a break from playing and have a baby. The Tunisian also talks about the proposals she received to change nationalities, but she turned them down even though they offered better conditions.
Being a female athlete poses a unique set of challenges and halting your career to become a mother is one of them. Many tennis players have successfully returned to the professional circuit after childbirth, but the journey is difficult and unpredictable.
The film is ready! My last 9 months has been dedicated to Producing a film about @Ons_Jabeur who battled against the odds to reach the Wimbledon Final – then lost it. But that is only a tiny part of her story.
Hugely proud of what we’ve achieved, this is a taster of what’s coming pic.twitter.com/cfIzo65w4B
— Matt Critchley (@MattCritchley1) December 28, 2023
The 29-year-old Jabeur, who married her long-term partner and fitness trainer Karim Kamoun in 2015, wanted to achieve her life-long dream of becoming a Grand Slam champion before pausing her career to start a family.
“I owe it to myself,” Jabeur says about winning a major in the documentary film made by Matt Critchley. “I need to make that happen.”
However, her plans where shattered when she lost to Marketa Vondrousova in the 2023 Wimbledon final, following a previous defeat by Elena Rybakina in the tournament’s title match a year earlier:
It was, I think, the toughest loss of my career, because emotionally it destroyed me. It was the tournament that I said ‘Okey, I feel like I’m gonna win it. I’m gonna win it and then maybe I could take a break and have a baby.’ So, not only not winning Wimbledon, but like the idea of having a baby just vanished with the trophy of Wimbledon. I was haunted by fear, by panic attack.
It’s a big pressure that male athletes don’t ever have to worry about. However, Jabeur should try to adopt a more relaxed approach. If her wish is to have a baby, then she should go for it and things will come into place. Life doesn’t adhere to strict plans or timelines.
The world No.6 also revealed that she had offers to switch nationalities, but rejected them all:
Some countries offered me the passport to play with them. It was much better conditions, much better probably future, I don’t know. But I refused because I knew part of me playing, part of Ons Jabeur, is being Tunisian. That blood will help me win and make history.