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“I was nervous before.. even when I made mistakes, she kept encouraging me, so thank you for that” – Jabeur on Serena Williams

Jabeur reveals she was having dinner when she got the call from Serena and could not believe that Serena wanted to partner her

Serena Williams of the U.S. with Tunisia's Ons Jabeur during their round of 16 double match at Eastbourne International Tournament Serena Williams of the U.S. with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur during their round of 16 double match at Eastbourne International Tournament Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

It’s not often that a player gets the opportunity to team up with a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion and 14-time Grand Slam women’s doubles champion. It’s even rarer if that champion is Serena Williams, who has preferred to partner her older sister Venus Williams when it comes to women’s doubles.

On Tuesday, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur became only the sixth woman to partner with Serena Williams in a WTA tournament and the 27-year-old said she felt honoured to play alongside such a legend.

Jabeur and Williams came from a set down to beat Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo 2-6, 6-3, 13-11 to advance to the quarter-finals of the WTA Eastbourne International.

Speaking on-court after the victory, Jabeur said she was nervous to playa alongside a player of Williams’ stature but thanked her partner for making her feel comfortable on the court.

“I am honoured, to be honest with you. I could not believe it. I was having dinner and it was crazy. It was so much fun. I was nervous before, playing with such a legend. But she made me feel really good on the court. And even when I made mistakes, she kept encouraging me, so thank you for that,” Ons Jabeur said.

Jabeur, ranked a career-high No 3 in the world, and Williams are both only playing doubles this week, and will return on Wednesday to play Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching for a spot in the semi-finals.

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