Ons Jabeur wants to become the first Arab Grans Slam winner

Anas Jaber celebrated at Wimbledon.Photo: cornerstone

Anas Jaber used to be the first: the first tournament winner from the Arab world, and the first African to rank second in the world. The Tunisian enjoys this hard-earned role.

Marcel Hooke / Keystone-sda

Ons Jabeur has never hidden her goal: to become one of the best tennis players in the world. So far, so good. But in her native Tunisia, the girl with this ambition was largely lonely. “People called me loud because I said I wanted to win the Grand Slam,” she recalls. “They laughed at me.” Today no one laughs at the woman who is only 1.67 meters tall.

The 27-year-old Tunisian has finished second in the world since winning the tournament two weeks ago in Berlin, and is in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the third time after the 2020 Australian Open and Wimbledon a year ago. You don’t need much to realize your big dream. In half of Jaber’s table there are only players outside the top 50, she has been unbeaten on grass in nine matches and has not lost a set at Wimbledon this year.

The most prominent events of Jaber’s victory in the round of 16 over Elise Mertens.video: YouTube / Wimbledon

Major fan

Over the past few years, Jaber has gotten used to a lot of “first things” – and she’s doubly pioneering. Jaber was the first Arab woman in a Grand Slam quarter-final, and the former best Arab woman in the world rankings was her compatriot and teacher Salima Al-Saffar – ranked 75. Never before has a player from the African continent ranked second in the world.

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This role as a role model for the many women and girls in her area does not burden Jaber, but rather inspires her. “I am very proud of what I have achieved,” she says. “Sometimes when we play the Confederation Cup in Africa, the fans and other players come and want to take pictures and ask me how I did it. It motivates me a lot to be inspired by them.” She hopes that more African girls will be successful in tennis.

100% Tunisian

Jaber’s success, and it is important for her to emphasize this, is “100 percent Tunisian”. She did not leave her homeland to train at one of the major tennis academies in the United States, France or Spain. At the age of 12, she moved from the coastal city of Sousse to Tunis, less than a two-hour drive away, where she still lives today.

“I felt and still feel more comfortable at home,” she asserts. In her last win at the 2011 French Open – of course as the first Arab and African – she received the certainty that she was on the right track.

Ironically, the fact that it took her a few years to establish herself among the pros has something to do with her great talent and sense of the ball. Similar to Roger Federer, she has a massive arsenal of weapons, can accelerate the ball tremendously, has a poisonous slide and great stopping balls. Finding the right mix was not easy. But the Roddick fan is now just as dangerous on the grass as he is on the sand familiar to her youth. And with her diverse gameplay amidst several rather monotonous mainstays, she is also a role model for many.

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He no longer leaves many “firsts”. The Grand Slam title would be the definitive culmination of an already extraordinary career. (Abu/Sada)

All tournaments won by Belinda Bencic

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All tournaments won by Belinda Bencic

Source: Keystone / Microphone Smith

The tennis player helps the boy ball when needed

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