LONDON, England -- On court, a devastated Ons Jabeur described her loss to Marketa Vondrousova in the Wimbledon final as "the most painful of my career."

It was her third defeat in a Grand Slam final, and second at Wimbledon, the tournament she has been open about wanting to win above all others. She'd beaten four major champions -- Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka -- just to give herself another shot.

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"I felt I was doing everything right," Jabeur said in the press conference. "Again, with the same thing that happened last year. ... It's painful because you feel so close to achieving something that you want and actually back to square one."

There are others who know the feeling. One of those, Kim Clijsters, was quick to offer some comfort. The Belgian lost her first four Grand Slam finals before eventually breaking through at the 2005 US Open, going on to claim four major crowns in total.

Wimbledon reaction

"We were crying together at the locker room," Jabeur said. "She was telling me all the time she lost four. She's a great inspiration for me. I grew up watching her a bit. The fact that she takes the time to give me advice and to really hug me, always be there for me, I think it's priceless.

"But that's the positive out of it. You cannot force things. It wasn't meant to be. It wasn't meant to be."

Jabeur said she had been unable to deal with Vondrousova's mixture of spins and paces amid the nerves of the moment.

"Maybe adapting to her rhythm was very difficult for me," Jabeur said. "Plus the pressure and the stress of the final. Honestly, I felt a lot of pressure, feeling a lot of stress. But like every final, like every match I played, I was telling myself it's, 'OK, it's normal. I honestly did nothing wrong. I did everything that I could.

"But I think things take time with me. Hopefully, I will be like the others that failed a couple of times to do it and it will come after."

Clijsters isn't the only player who went on to succeed after tasting defeat on multiple occasions. Chris Evert, Simona Halep, Andre Agassi and Goran Ivanisevic all lost three Grand Slam finals before becoming champions; Andy Murray fell in four and shed tears on Centre Court himself at Wimbledon 2012, but went on to win three major crowns.

Another parallel that Jabeur might draw sustenance from might be Vondrousova's compatriot, the late Jana Novotna, who lost finals at the Australian Open 1991, Wimbledon 1993 and Wimbledon 1997 before winning Wimbledon 1998. Novotna's tears in 1993, shed on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent at the trophy ceremony, made her a beloved figure for Centre Court fans. Her 1998 win was one of tennis' finest redemption arcs.

There was also royalty on hand to comfort Jabeur. The Duchess of Kent had told Novotna in 1997 it would be "third time lucky," and in 2023 the Princess of Wales offered similar words.

"To encourage me to be strong, to come back and win a Grand Slam, win a Wimbledon," Jabeur said. "Obviously, she was very nice. She didn't know if she wants to give me a hug or not. I told her hugs are always welcome from me. That was a very nice moment and she's always nice to me."

As downcast as Jabeur was in the wake of a brutal loss, she was also aware there are positives from reaching three of the past five Grand Slam finals. She vowed to keep her head up, with the same goal of winning Wimbledon in mind.

"Will definitely keep learning," she said. "I think that's the thing that will keep me going. Otherwise, if I'm going to be depressed about it, it's not going to help much. I'll try to stay positive."