Ons Jabeur is on the precipice of capping off a breakthrough European summer with a first Grand Slam final, but she’ll have to get past “barbecue buddy” and fellow semifinal debutante Tatjana Maria to do it.

“She’s one of those examples where I wish players would look up to her because she really suffered to play and win rounds at Grand Slams and look at her now,” the No. 3 seed said on court after her own three-set win over Marie Bouzkova. “She’s in the semifinals after having two babies. It’s really an amazing story.”

A friend to many on tour, Jabeur has become especially close to Maria and daughters Charlotte, 8, and Cecilia, 15 months—earning the honorary title of “Aunt Ons.”


“I love Charlotte,” she said in her post-match press conference. “She's really nice. She's playing tennis, so it's really amazing to see her. The little one is always smiling, great energy. I just love the family in general.

“They invited me once to their home. It was really amazing to be with them.”

Jabeur and Maria will face off for the first time in four years for what is undeniably the biggest match of their careers, and though the Tunisian leads their head-to-head 2-1 she’s leaving nothing to chance, even lobbying Maria’s daughters to cheer for her on Thursday.

“I was joking with Charlotte, I was telling her, ‘Are you going to support me or your mom?’ I'm trying to turn all the kids to my side, using the family!”

The two will open Centre Court’s semifinal action, with the winner to face either No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina or 2019 champion Simona Halep. Jabeur believes that, whoever makes it to the final, the other will be cheering her on.

“Maybe [we’ll] not be friends for two hours or, I don't know how long the match will go, and be friends again at the end.”