Except in the eyes of those who downgrade women in society and look at icons among them as bodies that must be covered, Ons Jabeur is the pride of so many Tunisians and a true success story that can inspire hundreds of others…
If you ask any Tunisian in the streets who is Ons Jabeur, he or she will tell you without hesitation that she is the Tunisian ambassador of pride, happiness and joy.
Shortly after winning theMadrid Open Tennis Championship, Ons tweeted “dreams come true”, reassuring thousands of young people that their ambitions have the potential to transform bitter realities into better ones, far from the world of violence, sexism, and tragedies not ending with the hundreds of Mediterranean escape -or death- boats.
In Ons’ career, Madrid was a turning point. The goal for her now, as she said, is to “go as far as I can.” Earlier this year, she promised people she would make it to the Top Ten. While heading in good spirit to Roland Garros, she was already determined to set an example for all Arab and African women.
“I am not playing for myself, I am playing for my country, for the Arab world, and for the African continent,” she recently stated.
Her success, as she reads it, is an introduction to other long-awaited successes by the younger generations who will always retain how this Tunisian girl, first Arab-African woman to make it to the Madrid Tournament, defeated the American Jessica Pegula.
Recently, this Tunisian Tennis champion was ranked as high as world No. 6 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), a historic step achieved on May 16, 2022. For Tunisians, she will be remembered as the antidote of political deadlocks and collective waves of depression triggered by a social and economic hardship that does not seem to near its end anytime soon.
In 2017, after nearly a decade playing primarily at the ITF level, Ons started competing more regularly on the WTA. Two years later, in 2019, she won the Arab Women Award.
At the 2020 Australian Open, Ons became the first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinals of a major tournament, an achievement she saw again at the 2021 Wimbeldon Championship. In 2021, she also won her first WTA title at the Birmingham Classic, becoming the first Arab woman to win a WTA tour title.
She reaped her biggest reward at the 2022 Madrid Open, a World Tennis Organization 1000 event, becoming the first African player to win a title at this level.
Ons Jabeur is a wonderful story inspired by a mother who was fond of Tennis, and made possible by familial sacrifices and faith in talent for every Tunisian to feel proud, capable, and hopeful.