Ons Jabeur qualifies for Wimbledon for first time

Ons Jabeur’s last piece in the Grand Slam puzzle is complete after she qualified for her maiden Wimbledon main draw. Having played once at each of the other three majors – including a breakthrough run to the third round of the French Open as a lucky loser – the 22-year-old finally progressed from Qualifying, at her fourth attempt, at Roehampton on Friday.

The Tunisian’s 6-4, 6-0 victory over American Asia Muhammad atoned for a harrowing 7-5 third-set defeat by Tamira Paszek at the final hurdle three years ago.

“It’s Wimbledon, I had to make it to the main draw and finally, after years, I was unbelievably focused during the match, especially during the second set so I didn’t give her any opportunity to come back,” Jabeur said. “Of course, it was a dream for me. I’ve had tough years. I’ve come back two times [to Qualifying] and one time I lost in three sets. I feel ready now and maybe this year I’m ready to perform better in the main draw.”

Ons Jabeur becomes the first Arab woman to reach the Wimbledon main draw since her countrywoman Selima Sfar in 2005. And following on from her upset of Dominika Cibulkova, the No.6 seed at Roland Garros, en route to the last 32 in Paris, this will again be making news back home. “Sure. I’m going to check my phone it’s probably ringing a little bit,” she laughed. “It’s unbelievable. I hope this is not the end, the start of the real Wimbledon.”

With a career-high ranking of No.104 coming into Qualifying, Jabeur is ready to crack the top 100 – a dream she admits she has spent years focusing on. “After the French Open I thought I’d be top 100, and then I was 104, and I was like, ‘Is this the real ranking? Are you guys taking some points off me?’ I’m not going to lie, I used to count every point from every tournament hoping to get to top 100, but now I just play loose every game and it’s coming. “I didn’t even think about it this year and look how the results are better. This is my advice to any player looking to achieve their goal – release and don’t think about it too much.”

The box set of Grand Slam appearances is now hers. And when asked who she would like to face in her debut at the All England Club, she replied: “I would like to face Venus Williams. But if I can choose a guy I'd make Andy Roddick come back and face him.”

SOURCE: wimbledon.com

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