Last Updated on July 12, 2023
Ons Jabeur, a Tunisian tennis player, is determined to leave her mark on the sport. She reached the Wimbledon semifinals for the second year in a row this week after defeating last year’s champion Elena Rybakina. In addition to being the first Arab woman to claim a Masters 1000 title, Jabeur also currently holds a top ten spot in the WTA rankings – specifically the 6th place. So far, she has claimed four tournament victories.
Jabeur has always dreamt of being a top player, even before turning 16. “I’ve always aimed to get here, to be world number one. I know that being in the Top 10 is just the start. I feel that I’ve earned this spot for some time now, as I’ve been performing very well,” she shared after entering the top ten.
Jabeur was born on 28th August 1994 in Ksar Hellal, a small town in Tunisia. She grew up in Sousse alongside her parents, two older brothers, and a sister. Her mother, a big tennis enthusiast, introduced her to the sport when she was just three.
Due to the lack of tennis courts in her town, ten-year-old Jabeur began practising at nearby hotels. At 14, she was chosen by the Tunisian Academy. Proudly, she identifies herself as a “100% Tunisian product”. “I received many offers from European universities, but I never thought of them as an option,” she said. Her mother insisted she should finish high school first before focusing on tennis.
Jabeur’s playing style is marked by the use of various shots, a strong forehand, and a sturdy backhand. She is particularly known for her strategic use of slice and drop shots.
Who Is Ons Jabeur’s Current Coach?
Ons Jabeur’s current coach, Issam Jellali, has been with her since the start of 2020, although they’ve known each other for several years.
Born in Tunisia in 1981, the same year as tennis star Roger Federer, Jellali didn’t have an illustrious career as an ATP player. His career highlights include winning one future title as a doubles player and representing Tunisia in the Davis Cup. Nevertheless, he was a dedicated tennis player who spent over 15 years on the ITF and challenger circuit.
However, Jellali found real success after his playing career ended. He now owns and heads a tennis academy in Dubai. He has also coached several top-100 ATP players, including Malek Jaziri and Damir Dzumhur. But it’s his work with Jabeur that he’s most known for. The Global Professional Tennis Coach Association rates him as an A-star-level coach. Apart from tennis, Jellali enjoys playing and watching football and is fluent in English, French, and Arabic.
Under Jellali’s guidance, Jabeur has won her four titles, reached the 2nd spot in the WTA Ranking, and made it to the Wimbledon 2022 and US Open 2022 finals, although she fell short of victory in both.
In 2023, Ons Jabeur, along with her coach Issam Jellali, showed strong performances in several important tournaments. She kicked off the year reaching the semifinals in the Adelaide International tournament. In the Australian Open, her progress was halted in the second round, but she recovered to win the Charleston Open, her first tournament win of the year. Jabeur also had a great run in the Stuttgart tournament, reaching the semifinals before an injury forced her to retire. Despite a couple of early exits in the Indian Wells and Miami Opens, she showed her resilience and kept her performance up.
Jabeur’s most significant achievement, however, came in the French Open. She made history by reaching the quarterfinals, becoming the first Tunisian and Arab woman to achieve this feat at Roland Garros. Her journey at the Berlin and Eastbourne tournaments was short-lived, but she bounced back at Wimbledon, defeating several strong players to reach the semifinals. Overall, under the guidance of Jellali, Jabeur’s 2023 season showcased her growing stature in the world of tennis and cemented her position as one of the top female players globally.
The rest of the team
Her team is also integrated by Jabeur’s husband since 2015, fitness coach Karim Kammoun, and her psychologist Melanie Maillard. About being trained by her husband, she said in dialogue with the official website of the WTA: “I feel very comfortable with my coach Issam and very comfortable with Kareem, even though they have criticized us because he is my husband. Honestly, feelings aside, I don’t care if he’s my husband or not. If he’s one day not improving on me, then we’re going to have a talk and see what happens. For now, we are doing much better. I think I am the only player who played three matches yesterday and won three matches. So physically speaking, I’m good enough”.
Maillard talked about her pupil’s progress in an interview with sport magazine The National News: “Now she believes more in herself. She was a bit shy, but now she wants to share more things. She is what I call an open-hearted player. She had to face some fears she had, once she understood them she was able to love herself more. That was a big task, and to make her love the job too, to listen to everything she had to say. She didn’t know she could say everything she had to say.”
Ons Jabeur’s Past Coaches
He was her trainer from February 2018 to early 2020. They split because he started training Caroline Garcia. Before Jabeur, he coached Paul Henri Mathieu, Renata Zarazua, Shuai Peng and German Tatjana Maria. He led Mathieu to the final in Palerme and semifinal in Kremlin Cup. He coached Peng Shuai to win Nanchan, finals of Taipei, winning doubles in Shenzhen, and advancing to the finals of both Australian Open and Miami. With him, Ons won the Arab Woman of the Year Award in 2019. Jabeur best achievement in a Grand Slam with Perret was to reach the 3rd. round at the US Open 2019. She also reached the Moscow final, where she defeated Daria Kasátkina by 6-2, 6-7(3) and 4-6. She went from 110th to 45th place.
He trained Jabeur in 2015. They split because he started to coach another player. After coaching the Arab, he trained Yanina Wickmayer, Jeremy Chardy and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. With him, Ons reached, for the first time, the main draw of the Australian Open.
He was her trainer from 4 to 13 years old. They separated themselves because he was a junior trainer. He coaches young players at the Hammam Sousse tennis club in the Mediterranean port city of Sousse. In an interview with AFP, he said that “Ons had an exceptional technical gift. She had fire inside her. She wouldn’t stop moving,” explains Nabil Mlika, who also said that because of her characteristics, she could also have played other sports: “She had physical abilities and great ease with the ball, to the point that some coaches wanted her to practice handball,” says Mlika. “She thought about it, but decided to continue with tennis.” He also revealed how confident she was: “Several times she told her mother: ‘One day I will get you a coffee at Roland Garros’”. She already did it.
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Ons Jabeur’s achievements with different coaches
We have collected in the table the data about the trophies won by Ons Jabeur under the guidance of various coaches.
|Coach||Years of Cooperation||Titles|
|Issam Jellali||2020-Present||2023 – Charleston|
2022 – Madrid, Berlin;
2021 – Birmingham