Jabeur's mission for Grand Slam success continues in Australia

The Arab icon revealed she has put her plans of having a child with her husband on hold in order to win her first Grand Slam

By Reuters

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Tunisia's Ons Jabeur stormed up the rankings in 2022 after runs to the final at Wimbledon and the US Open and set multiple milestones as an African and Arab woman. — Reuters
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur stormed up the rankings in 2022 after runs to the final at Wimbledon and the US Open and set multiple milestones as an African and Arab woman. — Reuters

Published: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 8:08 PM

Ons Jabeur has already established herself as a trailblazer in the sport, but ahead of the season-opening Australian Open the Tunisian is determined to finally claim an elusive Grand Slam title and shrug off her heartbreaking Wimbledon failures.

The 29-year-old, nicknamed the "Minister of Happiness", stormed up the rankings in 2022 after runs to the final at Wimbledon and the US Open and set multiple milestones as an African and Arab woman.

She had to contend with a stop-start 2023 season in which she underwent minor surgery early in the year after struggling with breathing issues during a second-round exit at the Australian Open and also dealt with a string of injuries.

Despite those issues, the world number six claimed a WTA 500 title in Charleston and reached the final at Wimbledon, her third Grand Slam final in 13 months, where she was handed a 6-4 6-4 loss by unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

In a documentary titled 'Ons Jabeur: This Is Me', which was released on Jan. 7, Jabeur revealed that the defeat had affected her personal life, forcing her to put her plans of having a child with her husband on hold.

"It was the toughest loss of my career because emotionally it destroyed me, not only winning Wimbledon, but the idea of having a baby just vanished with the trophy of Wimbledon...," Jabeur said.

"It scares me so much to go back and play a final, but I know I have to do this.

"I want to do bigger things than just a Grand Slam, but it will be a shame, a missing piece if I don't make that one. I have to (win a slam), I have no choice, maybe it's my life's mission to do it."

However, if past results are anything to go by, Jabeur may have to wait a while for a shot at Grand Slam glory.

Melbourne Park has been her least successful Grand Slam hunting ground, with a quarterfinal appearance in 2020 her best showing, and her inventive and skilful playing style has often been at odds with the blue hardcourts at the Australian Open.

She has also opted to skip the warm-up tournaments for the year's first Grand Slam and was last in action in an exhibition match against world number two Aryna Sabalenka in Riyadh in December.

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