By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, September 10, 2022
Ons Jabeur took cathartic action following her Wimbledon finals loss.
She had a good cry.
After bowing to Iga Swiatek 6-2, 7-6(5) in today’s US Open final, the Tunisian trailblazer was clear-eyed and definitive on her goals: Win an elusive Grand Slam title and challenge Swiatek for the world No. 1 ranking.
“Well, results-wise, definitely win a Grand Slam just to really show that it’s not impossible for someone coming from my country, from my continent, to have that title,” Jabeur told the media after today’s US Open final. “Just keep improving.”
World No. 1 Swiatek denied Jabeur’s bid to become the first Tunisian and first African woman to win the US Open winning nine of the first 11 games then holding off a late Jabeur rally.
The fifth-seeded Jabeur said she was more stressed out for today’s Flushing Meadows final than she was at Wimbledon.
“In Wimbledon I did everything I could to prepare. Maybe sometimes I was over the moon little bit just like thinking I should have been maybe more concentrated on the final,” Jabeur said. “But I’m a dreamer. I dream a lot. I try to really manifest me winning.
“This time I was pretty nervous. Maybe more nervous than Wimbledon, for sure. But, again, I did everything possible to prepare for this final. I worked on my breathing. I tried to really release that stress.
“Yeah, I think this one was more stressful for me. I will learn definitely from it.”
New world No. 2 Jabeur will continue her chase of the top spot in 2023. Jabeur is defending just 10 ranking points at the first three Grand Slams next year because she did not play the 2022 Australian Open, fell in the French Open first round and did not receive any ranking points from her Wimbledon finals run as the Tours withdrew all ranking points from The Championships this year in protest of Wimbledon’s ban of Russian and Belarusians.
If Jabeur can stay healthy, the numbers game favors her in 2023.
“Definitely we’ll play each other because she’s No. 1, I’m No. 2. Hopefully it will be great matches between us,” Jabeur said. “But, yeah, she improved a lot I think her forehand and her serve. She’s always been solid in the backhand. That’s kind of tough.
“Physically she’s everywhere. She can bring any ball. It’s always tough to play someone that puts one more shot in. Yeah, we’ll play each other in the Finals, I think so. Maybe we’ll be different groups. I don’t know. But, yeah, catching up in the ranking, I know she has a lot of defending points, I have none. That’s kind of the goal.”
For now, the 21-year-old Swiatek has “really set the bar high”, but Jabeur is looking forward to future showdowns.
“It will always be great to compete against Iga. I was joking when I said I don’t like her. I’ll forgive her when she gives me a Rolex or something,” Jabeur said with a laugh.
Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty