Ons Jabeur is through to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open.
Ons Jabeur is through to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open.

Tunisian trailblazer Ons Jabeur says breaking into top 10 is a "dream come true", adds "this is just the beginning" for her

Vedant Chandel
ANALYST

Ons Jabeur has been a trailblazer for tennis in the Arab world, delivering many firsts for the sport in the region. On Thursday, the Tunisian created further history by guaranteeing herself a spot in the top 10 of the WTA rankings.

Jabeur overcame Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open to ensure her top-10 debut when the rankings are updated next week. She will become the first Arab player to ever be ranked inside the top 10.

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Speaking to the media during her post-match press conference, Jabeur shared her thoughts on her most recent achievement. The Tunisian said breaking into the top 10 is a "dream come true," a goal she has pursued ever since making her professional debut at the age of 16.

"Like this is a dream come true," Jabeur told reporters at the press conference. "This is something that I've been wanting, like you said, maybe you knew me when I was 16."
Jabeur (L) fisrt burst onto the scene by reaching the last-eight at the 2020 Australian Open.

Jabeur, who burst onto the scene by reaching the last eight at the 2020 Australian Open, believes this is "just the beginning" for her. The Tunisian said she always felt like she deserved a place in the top 10, but was quick to point out that she still had a lot to improve in her game.

"Top 10 I know is the beginning," Jabeur continued. "I know I deserve this place from a long time since I was playing well."
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"There is a lot of things that I need to improve," she added. "I'm very happy, a lot of emotions right now, but I'm still in competition so I'm trying to calm down and not overthink about top 10."
Writing HER-STORY 📖

Welcome to the 𝐓𝐎𝐏 𝟏𝟎, @Ons_Jabeur 🙌
5:54 AM · Oct 15, 2021

It is different to be a tennis player from Tunisia: Ons Jabeur

Jabeur with her team at the Viking Classic Birmingham.

During the press conference, Ons Jabeur also spoke about the tennis culture in her native Tunisia. The 27-year-old said it was "different" being a tennis player from Tunisian than it was in the US or Europe.

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Jabeur said she had learned to deal with rejection very early in her career. She also revealed that her team always had difficulties finding sponsors and support, but asserted that such hardships helped build her character.

"It is different to come from my country than being American or French or Australian," Jabeur said. "They have not just the example of seeing players playing in front of you, more tennis clubs, even more tournaments."
"I've been rejected by sponsors because of where I come from, which is so not fair," she continued. "I didn't understand why before. I accepted it. I dealt with it. I am really proud of the person I became today, just not relying on others."

Jabeur was, however, quick to acknowledge that every player has overcome certain hardships in their journey to the top. The Tunisian said that the struggles she faced only fuelled her hunger to achieve her "dream".

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"Everybody had like probably a difficult career. I'm not saying I have the most difficult one," Jabeur said. "I just wanted to really do this. It's my dream."
"I didn't want to depend on a sponsor or someone who doesn't even care about tennis or doesn't even care about sport in general," Jabeur added. "Yeah, it gave me the courage to continue and achieve my goals, and I'm in top 10 today."

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
 
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