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Winning in Doha would be special, says Jabeur

World No. 31 Ons Jabeur has become the toast of Arab tennis world in the last three years and she is enjoying it to the fullest.

And she is excited to be back in Doha – her “favourite” place — for the Qatar Total Open.

“Doha is among my favourite places. I love to play here as I have always received a lot of crowd support here. It’s amazing. Last year so many people were cheering for me and I love playing in front of my fans,” the Tunisian told the media before the tournament yesterday.

“The support I’ve received while playing in these tournaments is amazing. That’s one of the reasons I love coming back to Doha,” she said.

The highest-ranked player Arab ever in the history of women’s tennis, Jabeur also became the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam when she made it to the last eight in the Australian Open in 2020.

Jabeur’s eye-catching performance, however, did not come overnight as the 26-year-old had been making impressive strides on the Tour over the past three years.

In January 2019, she outdid compatriot Selima Sfar, who was the highest-ranked Arab woman when she broke into the top-100 to become the 75th-ranked player in 2001. Jabeur reached a career-high ranking of 56 while in 2018, she became the first Arab to reach a final (or semi-final) on the WTA Tour at the Moscow Kremlin Cup.

Jabeur, who is currently coached by UAE-based former Davis Cup player Issam Jellali and long-time trainer Bertrand Perret, currently has a win percentage of 62.3. Despite collecting 11 titles on the ITF Tour, the Tunisian is yet to win a single crown on the WTA Tour.

However, she has some fond memories of last year’s Doha-Dubai double and is hoping for another good show this time.

“I’d love to win a tournament in Doha or the UAE. As an Arab woman, playing on the Arab soil is a big deal. Winning either of them would be something special,” she said.

Jabeur played in Abu Dhabi in the second week of January this year and went down fighting against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in the round of 16. In Doha last year, she lost to the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals. Even as Jabeur sets her sights improving her record in these two tournaments in the region, one thing she can count on is overwhelming fan support.

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