Ons Jabeur Hoping For More African Tennis Players After Roland Garros - UBITENNIS
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Ons Jabeur Hoping For More African Tennis Players After Roland Garros

Ons Jabeur spoke about her growing up in Africa after reaching the second round in Paris.



Ons Jabeur (@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur is hoping for more African tennis players to break through after defeating Lucia Bronzetti 6-1 6-4 at Roland Garros.

The Tunisian was in fine form in Paris as she avoided a repeat of last year to reach the second round.

Jabeur, who lost to Magda Linette in the opening round last year, dominated her Italian opponent to reach the second round at Roland Garros.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Jabeur this clay court season as she has to deal with her fair share of injuries in 2023.

Speaking after the match Jabeur admitted she is happy that she is now healthy and also spoke about her stress levels before the match given what happened last year, “It wasn’t an easy round, for sure, but I tried my best to win in two sets,” Jabeur said in her press conference.

“Obviously I’m trying to get back to my level 100%, and I think that will come match by match and by playing more matches. But I’m happy that I’m healthy and I’m moving well on the court.

“You know, like every first round is very difficult in a Grand Slam. I was pretty stressed, I’ve got to say, but I was just trying to play my game. The most important thing for me was to feel healthy and to move well on the court.”

For Jabeur, physical fitness is the most important thing to gain in Paris as she looks to build momentum heading into Wimbledon where she reached the final last year.

Another topic Jabeur was asked about was about other African tennis players that could have made it on the professional circuit.

The Tunisian spoke in depth about how many players could have made and Jabeur hopes in the future more African players will achieve their dreams, “I mean, I grew up playing a lot of Arabic and African Championship, and definitely, I cannot remember names, but I know there were a lot of talented people there,” the Tunisia explained.

“But for me, to look back at the African Championships that I played, it’s one of the best periods for me, because it’s like so innocent playing tennis. All you want is win. You don’t care how many matches you play per day. We
played like three matches a day. Nobody cares.

“I think we had really amazing, talented people from South Africa, from Zimbabwe, from Morocco, Egypt, different other countries, Algeria. Unfortunately we did not see all of them here, but hopefully that will change one day.

“But especially, you know, in the juniors, because I have seen a lot — we had like the African continent group that they travel together and do like three months’ tournaments. The ITF honestly had a really good program for all of us.

“I did benefit from that. I don’t know. Hopefully in the future we can do better and, you know, with maybe me and my era now, represent the African region, we can inspire more and more players.”

Inspiring the next generation from Africa is part of Jabeur’s mission statement as a tennis playing having advocated for more tennis players from the region in the past.

However the Tunisian doesn’t just want more African players on the tour as she wants her success to inspire other players to believe that they can win Grand Slams too, “Hopefully better than Ons Jabeur. You know, I believe that the work already started by having more and more African players here and playing and, you know, showing that it’s not impossible,” Jabeur explained.

“Hopefully players will believe more and see that it is possible to win Grand Slams. Hopefully have more academies, more facilities for, you know, Africa to be able to practice anywhere, any country. Second, you know, give the opportunity to players to travel and pay for coaches and have all of that.

“I don’t believe in having all of that, like, handed away to players, because I believe that players should work hard enough to have these facilities, but most of the players they grew up not having enough money to pay for the coach or have enough facilities, and they grew up and they become stronger and become an amazing player.

“So I believe if they believe enough in themself, they can make it here. That’s the most important thing for me.”

Jabeur’s work to help African players is inspiring as she looks to continue to motivate development in the region by achieving more success in the future.

As for Roland Garros, Jabeur will play her second round match on Thursday where she will face Oceane Dodin.

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon



image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.


The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.


Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Wimbledon Finalist Jasmine Paolini – ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared To Dream Too Much’



After coming close to her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, Jasmine Paolini believes consistency is key to having another shot at glory.

The 28-year-old dropped only one set en route to becoming the first Italian woman to reach a Wimbledon final. However, she was denied the title by Barbora Krejcikova, who won in three sets. Paolini was broken once in the decider which was due to a double fault from the Italian following an unsuccessful hawk-eye challenge made on her first serve. Then she failed to convert two break points when down 4-5 before Krejcikova held to seal glory.

“I started bad,” she reflected afterwards.

“I took some time and try to relax and to come back in the second set stronger to try to push the ball more because I was a little bit controlling too much, and I missed a lot of shots.

“She was playing, honestly, very good the first set. She was serving really, really good. High percentage of first serves.

“It was tough but I think I did better than the last final (at the French Open), but still it’s not enough.”

Prior to Saturday, Paolini had scored wins over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, Medison Keys (via retirement) and a marathon victory over Donna Vedic. She has now won 15 Grand Slam matches in 2024 compared to just one last season.

The defeat comes less than two months after the French Open where Paolini contested her first major final but lost in two sets to world No.1 Iga Swiatek. Since the start of this season, she has risen more than 20 places in the rankings and will reach No.5 on Monday.

Despite being in her late 20s, the Italian is producing some of her best tennis on the Tour. Something she credits to a combination of things. 

“I improved my game a little bit. I believe more in myself. I improved my serve. I think I improve the return.” She explained.

“I think physically I’m better than two years ago. I’ve been working with a new fitness coach for one-and-a-half years.

“There are many things, I think. Not just one. I think also winning matches helps a lot.”

Whilst she is heading in the right direction on the Tour, Paolini has vowed not to get too ahead of herself.

“Sometimes I’m a little bit scared to dream too much.” she said.

“I’m going back, trying to practice and stay in the present. This is the goal for me and my team, to try to keep this level as much as possible.

“If I keep this level, I think I can have the chance to do great things.

“Today I was dreaming of holding the (Wimbledon) trophy but it didn’t go well.

“I’m just enjoying the position where I am right now.”

Paolini has won 30 out of 43 matches on the Tour so far this season.

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister



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The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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