Ons Jabeur dreams of gold in Tokyo

1 month ago 28


TUNIS:

Ons Jabeur intends to alert the emblem for Tunisia and beyond astatine the Tokyo Olympics, hoping to animate much young Arab women to instrumentality up tennis, particularly successful North Africa.

The two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist is preparing for her 3rd quality astatine the Games, and volition get successful Japan a overmuch improved subordinate from the 1 who suffered first-round exits successful 2012 and 2016.

"I've been preparing for the Olympic Games since Roland Garros (in June)," Jabeur, ranked a career-high 23rd, told AFP from her grooming basal successful Tunis.

"I person to enactment focused, particularly since I cognize tons of Tunisians expect the champion from maine astatine the Games against the champion players, successful matches that volition beryllium precise difficult."

Jabeur, 26, volition conscionable crab subsister Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain successful her opening lucifer astatine Ariake Tennis Park, with Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova a imaginable second-round opponent.

"I'm acceptable for this challenge. The golden medal successful Tokyo is my dream. What I americium astir arrogant of is representing Tunisia," said Jabeur.

"The Grand Slams are important, but the Olympics are thing special, and I accidental to Tunisians that I'm going to springiness everything connected the tribunal for you.

"My presumption successful the tennis satellite is not the aforesaid arsenic different players due to the fact that I'm representing Tunisia, Arabs and Africa astatine the aforesaid time, and it's thing of which I'm precise proud," she added.

"There are tons of players who travel from France, Australia, the United States, and I'm arrogant to correspond an full federation connected my own."

Jabeur broke into the apical 50 past twelvemonth pursuing her tally to the past 8 of the Australian Open, wherever she became the archetypal Arab pistillate to scope the quarter-finals of a large successful the Open era.

She was hailed arsenic "an illustration for women and young people" by Tunisian president Kais Saied pursuing that breakout performance, which came astir a decennary aft she won the French Open inferior title successful 2011.

"I've learned from my mistakes. In 2019, I told my squad I'd had capable of being ranked 60th and that I wanted to beryllium among the champion players successful the world," said Jabeur.

"When I got to the Australian Open quarter-finals, I gained much acquisition and assurance and that allowed maine to amended hole for tournaments. The different players person started to fearfulness playing me."

Jabeur made past arsenic the archetypal Arab pistillate to triumph a WTA tourney connected the eve of Wimbledon, defeating Daria Kasatkina connected writer successful the Birmingham Classic final.

Her occurrence has helped successful portion assistance the gloom of Tunisia's governmental and wellness crisis. The state has been overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases, including astir 18,000 radical who person died successful a federation of 11.7 million.

Jabeur precocious auctioned a racquet to rise funds for section hospitals, which person faced acute shortages of oxygen, unit and intensive attraction beds.

"It was my work to assistance my state erstwhile it needs it. We were capable to cod 75,000 dinars, astir $27,000, to bargain instrumentality for the hospitals that deficiency it," she said.

While Jabeur aims to thrust up information rates successful the athletics backmost home, she inactive has plentifulness goals of her ain to achieve.

"My imagination since puerility is to triumph titles successful the large competitions, and I cognize precise good that I'm not acold off," said Jabeur, whose hubby Karim Kamoun is besides her fittingness trainer.

"I ever accidental thing is impossible, you person to work, trust connected yourself and person assurance successful your abilities.

"During my career, plentifulness person doubted my quality to ever scope this level, but my content successful myself and my enactment person allowed maine to determination forward."

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