Despite the gloom of Tunisia’s political problems, a top tennis player is flying the flag for the country hoping for the same effect, no doubt, that Morocco’s performance at the world cup had on the Maghreb country.
World number two Ons Jabeur said on December 31st her pair of 2022 Grand Slam finals have only increased her desire to finally lift a major trophy.
The Tunisian top seed at the Adelaide International lost in three sets to Elena Rybakina at Wimbledon last July, then reached the US Open title match two months later, going down to Iga Swiatek.
She said she was keen to take her game to the highest podium, starting at the Australian Open in January.
“I was ready to win this year (2022), but it didn’t happen,” she said. “I’m doing everything possible to win a Grand Slam. I’m just going to go for it.
“This year, 2023, is about just being free and playing my game. I’m glad I got the experience from two finals in a Grand Slam.”
Jabeur, the first Arab woman in the WTA top 10, said she and her team laboured during the off-season to fine-tune her powerful game.
“We’ve worked really hard to improve a lot of things, we are more aware of my game,” she said.
“I feel like this year is going to be very special for me. I gave it all, I put in the hard work during practices, and I’m hitting the ball well.”
And the 28-year-old said the infamous Australian summer weather would not be a problem for her.
“I’m from Tunisia and used to the hot weather — that’s a good thing,” she said.
“The most important thing is to be ready, to hydrate better and do (your) routine for hot weather.”
Jabeur will open in Adelaide after a first-round bye against the winner from Romania’s Sorana Cirstea and a qualifier.