Arab trailblazer Ons Jabeur tells how 2022 success impacted her life
by DZEVAD MESIC | VIEW 831
Ons Jabeur, 28, admits a career-best 2022 season changed her life as her popularity in Tunisia and the Arab world massively increased. Last year, Jabeur wrote tennis history as she became the first-ever Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final - win a WTA 1000 title - enter the top-10.
Now, there is a much bigger focus on Jabeur and the Arabs are more interested in tennis since they have a star to root for. “It was the kind of season I’d been waiting for for a long time. I came close to the long-held dream of winning a Grand Slam.
I think my life changed beyond the tennis court, in Tunisia. In fact, everywhere I go people now pay more attention to me and that gives me great pleasure. I feel that this pressure, this attention around me, is a beautiful responsibility for me," Jabeur told Jabeur told The Power of Sport on Eurosport and discovery+.
Jabeur aims to give the Arab world a Grand Slam title
In 2022, Jabeur twice fell just short of winning a Grand Slam as the Tunisian ended as runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open. Now, Jabeur has set her eyes on the French Open title as the Tunisian noted she is playing for the entire Arab continent.
“I will prepare for Roland-Garros this year, hoping that I will do better than in previous years. Obviously, the pressure is there but I will use that pressure to make sure I’m ready to realise my dream, to realise the dream of an entire people, an entire continent in fact," Jabeur said.
Going into the French Open, Jabeur acknowledged there are multiple strong candidates for the title but highlighted she feels good about her own chances. “[Clay] is a surface I like a lot. It gives me time to play my shots, to play my game.
I love the slice, the drop shot. I know the ball stays lower when I play a slice and I’m adapting to it all the time. There are lots of players like Iga [Swiatek], like Aryna [Sabalenka], like [Elena] Rybakina who are playing very well on this surface, with different games, but I will do my best," Jabeur said.
It remains to be seen if Jabeur can make a splash at the French Open and become the first-ever Arab Grand Slam winner.