Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur makes history, cracks top 30 in projected WTA rankings
TUNIS – Tunisian tennis pro Ons Jabeur is set to make history as the highest ranked Arab woman in her sport after a strong performance in the US’s Western and Southern Open.
Jabeur, 25, is expected to climb to 30th in the international Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings after making a deep run to the quarter-finals of the American tournament, making waves in her native Tunisia where she is hailed as a role model for aspiring women athletes.
The Tunisian star impressed by defeating 11th-ranked Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez and 90th-ranked American Christina McHale in the event, building off an earlier stand-out performance at this year’s Australian Open in which she defeated formerly top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki in the last match of her career.
Jabeur was defeated August 26 in the quarters by Belarusian Victorian Azarenka.
Next, Jabeur will compete in the grand slam US Open event in New York, where she has high hopes she can take her play to the next level.
“Honestly, I think I can I can go far in this tournament,” Jabeur told Olympic Channel in an interview August 25. “I proved myself, that could I could do good. I’ve been in the quarter (-finals in Australia), so my goal is to arrive to the finals. So why not win the title?”
Jabeur, who is from a small town in Tunisia’s coastal Monastir governorate, has been a fixture in the international women’s tennis scene for years. She began competing in the professional women’s circuit at age 14, and saw her career take off in 2017 when she broke into the main WTA top 100 rankings, qualified for all 4 Grand Slam singles and won multiple main-draw matches.
But it was her break-out performance in this year’s Australian Open that made international headlines and built her an even bigger platform, which she has used to try and inspire athletes from Africa and the Arab world.
“My dream is to see a lot more Arab players on tour playing well,” Jabeur told Olympic Channel. “And to be honest, I think it’s not impossible now.”
“The young generation is much more motivated,” she added. “I can see back in Tunisia, I can see that there is a lot of young, talented players and I hope I can really inspire them.”
Jabeur is also confident in her own prospects. While she acknowledged in an interview with WTA August 26 that coming back after a long absence and managing tight travel and health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge, she said she is as motivated as ever and “playing really good right now.”
Schedules for the US Open event starting August 31 are to be revealed on Thursday.