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From the steppes of the Sahel to the grass of Wimbledon – Portrait of Ons Jabeur

For the first time in history, a female tennis player of Arab origin has won a tennis tournament counting for the WTA, the Birmingham tournament. On this occasion, Kawa News wanted to have a look back at the career of the young 26 year old tennis woman.


June 14, 2021. After a tight match, Ons Jabeur triumphed over her opponent of the day, the Russian Daria Kasatkina, on the score of 7-5 / 6-4. If this news has not found a great echo among international sports journalists, it has made a lot of noise in the Arab world, and particularly in North Africa: it is the first time that a woman of Arab origin wins a tournament of the WTA circuit. A fair reward for the Tunisian tennis women, who has been playing for almost ten years in the world of high level tennis.


This title, the Tunisian sportswoman has dreamed of it since her birth. The one who is now compared to the great tennis player Hicham Arazi, considered by many as the best Arab tennis player of all time (ranked 22nd in the world ATP in 2001), savors her achievement and has delivered a message of hope to future generations of Arab tennis. “Being the only Arab is not easy on the circuit right now. Maybe now someone is looking and wants to be here instead of me, I just want to say that if I did it, it’s not impossible. Like I said before, I always try to inspire other generations.”

An exceptional player, used to exploits

If Ons Jabeur is in the spotlight today, it is above all because her victory crowns an exceptional career. When she was younger, she had already distinguished herself by winning the French Open in 2011, which made many observers say that the Tunisian could be the great revelation of women’s tennis in the upcoming years. Then follow a few years of doubt, during which Ons shows irregular performances.


The turning point for Ons Jabeur probably came in 2017, when she beat a Top 10 WTA player for the first time in her career during a Grand Slam tournament (in this case Dominika Cibulkova, No. 7 at the time, at Roland-Garros). Since then, the Tunisian has not ceased to string together the blows of brilliance. In 2018, she even had the luxury of defeating the world’s number one player, the Romanian Simona Halep, during a tournament in China. Since then, she has been working to reach the semifinals of a grand slam, something that has never happened since her best performance remains a quarterfinal during the 2020 Australian Open.

On the road to the top 10?

Since 2020, Ons Jabeur has been performing well and has acquired the consistency she was lacking until now. The tenniswoman ranked 24th in the WTA ended the year 2020 with a quarter-finalist place at the Australian Open and an eighth-finalist place at Roland-Garros. The year 2021 begins with the same auspiciousness; she holds off world number one Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open before losing and then reaching the round of 16 at the French Open once again.


This could be Ons Jabeur’s year, as the Tunisian has high hopes for the Wimbledon tournament. A few days ago, the player from the Tunisian Sahel defeated Venus Williams, five-time title holder, to reach the round of 16 against the world number 11, the Spanish Garbine Murguruza: a match that promises to be breathtaking.

Published on 1 July 2021