Ons Jabeur all smiles as she prepares for Wimbledon 2022 women's final - in pictures

The Tunisian world No 2 takes on Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina on Centre Court

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Ons Jabeur said the seeds of her history-making charge to the Wimbledon final were sown 12 months ago when she told her coaching team: "I'm coming back for the title."

Jabeur became the first Arab and African woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the modern era when she beat close friend Tatjana Maria, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the semi-finals.

She will face Russian-born Elena Rybakina, now representing Kazakhstan, for the title on Saturday.

Twelve months ago, Jabeur, 27, made the quarter-finals for the first time, losing to Aryna Sabalenka.

But on the way she knocked out five-time champion Venus Williams, 2017 winner Garbine Muguruza, as well as current No 1 Iga Swiatek.

Having never previously got past the second round at the All England Club, that run gave her the taste for more.

"Not to lie to you, the dream kind of started last year when I enjoyed playing here, enjoyed the crowd," said the world No 2.

"I didn't play so many Wimbledons before. Usually it was the first and second round. It's tricky on grass but I knew I was playing good on grass because of my game and everything.

"Melanie [Maillard], my mental coach, reminded me when I lost in the quarter-finals I told her like, 'I'm coming back next year for the title'."

Maillard did not need convincing.

"She was like, 'You will'. She knows that if I put something in my mind, I do it. I'm one step away from achieving it," said Jabeur. "I hope it's going to happen."

Jabeur coasted through the first four rounds at Wimbledon this year before needing three sets to defeat Marie Bouzkova and then three more to see off Maria.

Updated: July 09, 2022, 4:42 AM
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