Ons Jabeur, the inspiration of Arab tennis

That of Ons Jabeur (Ksar Hellal, Tunisia, 26 years old) pointed to another one of those stories about fleeting talents in tennis. A decade ago, only 16 years old and already offering traces of her mighty talent, she won the junior Roland Garros and became the first North African champion of such an event. However, he later became entangled in the networks that hinder the transition to professionalism. “It was frustrating, because I saw that many players with whom I had shared that stage were already among the 50 or 20 best in the world,” he acknowledged these days at Wimbledon, where he not only progresses but dazzles, getting closer to that peak. the one I dreamed of reaching then.

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Installed on the 24th rung of the women’s circuit, Jabeur is captivating the fans and knocking down doors, on the way to becoming a reference in Arab sport, in which women fight to lose their historical invisibility in any type of discipline. Little by little he goes to where he promised, and his name often begins to accompany him with the valuable tagline of being the first in… In fact, if when you were a teenager you already made history with that triumph in Paris, your recent successes resonate even more. None greater, at the moment, than the one obtained three weeks ago in Birmingham, where he raised his first trophy as a professional, which in turn meant the first of an Arab woman in tennis.

Before, she had broken another barrier by reaching the finals in Moscow (2018) and Charleston (2021), but she wants something more. It is not enough for her to be the first Arab quarter-finalist at Wimbledon or the one who has gone the furthest in a Grand Slam – she reached the quarterfinals at last year’s Australian Open -; Nor is it worth it to have exceeded the bar that Selima Sfar set in its day, 2001, the 75th in the world and therefore the one with the best ranking had gotten. Ons Jabeur wants to transcend. “It’s not easy being the only Arab woman on the circuit,” she says; “But you never know, maybe someone is watching television and wants to be in my place one day. I want to send you a message: if I have been able, others can. I don’t just look out for myself, but I try to inspire other generations that come from behind ”.

This season, the Tunisian is the player with the most triumphs (32) together with the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and in London she is confirming what was already guessed: that she is very good and that it is a pleasure to see her play, with her unpredictable and creative style, resorting to slashed blows and left them fearless. A show. “She inspires not only Arab women, but all of us, including me,” dedicated the most veteran, Venus Williams (40), to whom she performed in the second round before offering a recital in the third to go down. the Spanish Garbiñe Muguruza. “I have very, very big goals, I aim high. I want to be number one and win Grand Slams. So far I’ve been going slowly, but I think I’m on the right track. I’m working very hard, ”she says flanked by her husband Karim Kamoun, who works as a physical trainer, and her compatriot Issam Jellali, her coach.

He started rallying at the age of three and as soon as he stood out, he received several proposals from American universities that he discarded, because he preferred to train at home, with a couple of forays into academies in France and Belgium. “When I see the French, the Americans or the Australians together on the circuit, I think that is what I want for the Arab world, for there to be more and more male and female players,” she wishes as they compare her with the Moroccan Hicham Arazi, who he reached four times the quarterfinals of a great, and another Arab reference like the also Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui, who won five titles and became 14th in the world.

Wimbledon: check the order of play Monday 5.

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Ons Jabeur, the inspiration of Arab tennis

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