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10 Interesting Facts About Tennis Star and ‘Tunisia’s Minister of Happiness,’ Ons Jabeur

everything you need to know

Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur is arguably one of the best-performing athletes from our side of the world, regardless of discipline and gender. The 28-year-old, who’s been on a non-stop roll these past two years, has been plowing through the sports’ ranks, bringing light and almost unprecedented levels of fame to her native Tunisia by becoming one of the greatest women’s tennis players ever, having just beat Aryna Sabalenka to reach her second Wimbledon final on Thursday.

Despite having no blueprint to follow, Jabeur’s journey has been marked by sheer determination, resilience, and clear cut success, shattering all expectations and barriers placed on her each time she takes on a new opponent. With each match propelling her to new heights, her inspiring growth and record-breaking stats continue to inspire athletes from all around the world as she relentlessly redefines what is possible while showcasing the immense amount of talent there is in our corner of the planet. 

Her stats are extraordinary. She is the current No. 1 Tunisian player and the highest-ranked African and Arab tennis player in Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) history. She has won four singles titles on the WTA tour, as well as 11 singles titles and one doubles title on the ITF Circuit. The athlete also made history as the first North African, Muslim, and Arab female tennis player to reach a Major singles final when she became the runner-up at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2022.

Her status as a true legend and trailblazer in tennis has turned her into a beacon of hope for young girls and women in the Arab World— she was the recipient of the 2019 Arab Woman of the Year Award in the sports category— demonstrating that dreams can be turned into reality with hard work and self-belief and that impossible is nothing when the sky’s the limit. 

And as she continues to make history, starting from this weekend where she will have the opportunity to wrap her hands around her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, we decided to compile a list of the must-know facts about Jabeur ahead of the most important game of her career.

She was born in Ksar Hellal

The athlete was born to Samira and Ridha Jabeur on Aug. 28, 1994 in Ksar Hellal, a small city close to Montasir. However, she grew up in Sousse, a larger nearby town, with her three older siblings, Hatem, Marwen, and Yasmine.  

She was introduced to tennis at the age of three

Her mother, who was an avid recreational player herself, was the first to introduce Jabeur to the sport when she was only three-years-old. When she was 12, she moved to the capital city of Tunis to train at the Lycée Sportif El Menzah, a sport school for the country’s up-and-coming athletes. Jabeur, who later trained in Belgium and France, credits her parents for her success, saying, “My mom used to drive me everywhere around Tunisia to go play the tournaments, and she encouraged me to go to a special school to study. That was a big sacrifice to see her little girl going for a dream that, honestly, wasn’t 100% guaranteed. She believed in me and gave me the confidence to be there.”

She’s the first-ever Arab woman to win a junior Grand Slam title 

She won the French Open girls’ championship in 2011, subsequently becoming the first ever Arab woman to be the recipient of a junior Grand Slam in history and the second Arab since Ismail El Shafei, who won the Wimbledon boys’ tournament in 1964.

She’s the highest-ranked African and Arab tennis player in history

Currently at the 6th position of the Women’s Tennis Association, her highest ranking occurred in 2022 when she climbed to a historic second position.

She is a polyglot

Jabeur is fluent in three languages— Arabic, English, and French— and is learning Russian as her husband, Russian-Tunisian former fencer Karim Kamoun (who served as her fitness coach since 2017), speaks the language. 

She used to be nicknamed “Roger Federer”

In her junior days, Jabeur earned the nickname “Roger Federer” after the Swiss superstar. When she made it to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon last year, he congratulated her achievement. “That inspires me a lot and gives me the hunger to win more,” Jabeur said during a post-match press conference. 

She has her own postal stamp

Shortly after becoming the first person from Tunisia to reach the final at the All England club in London, Post Tunisie unveiled a stamp to celebrate her achievement. The stamp features the tennis star fist-pumping in one hand and holding Tunisia’s flag in the other. 

She’s the first Tunisian and Arab to win a WTA title

She won the Birmingham Classic in 2021, making her the first Arab and African, both male and female, to ever win the competition.

She’s the first African and Arab player to win a title at the WTA 1000 level

In May 2022, Jabeur defeated American athlete Jessica Pegula at the Madrid Open, making her the first African and Arab player to take home a title at the WTA 1000 level. 

She’s the first Arab and the first African woman in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam singles final

In 2022, the Tunisian athlete became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, though she lost in three sets. She followed that up by reaching the 2022 US Open final, when she was dubbed her country’s “Minister of Happiness.”

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