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Ons Jabeur’s brilliant 2021 season ends – she won’t attend WTA Finals due to injury

Ons Jabeur’s trailblazing 2021 campaign has officially come to an end, due to an elbow injury.

Ons Jabeur of Tunisia at Indian Wells Ons Jabeur of Tunisia at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open WTA 1000 tennis tournament Photographer: Zuma / Panoramic

Ons Jabeur made mountains of history for herself, for Tunisia and for the Arab world in 2021. And now the current world No 7 has announced that the best season of her career has officially come to an end. She will not travel to Guadalajara to take her place as an alternate at the WTA Finals.

“I am sorry to announce that I won’t be able to go to Guadalajara as an alternate,” Jabeur wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “I need more time to recover and prepare for next season. I am super proud of achieving my goal and my best ranking in the world: 7! Thank you for your support and see you next year!”

An elbow injury rules her out

The Tunisian was forced to retire at Moscow and withdraw from Courmayeur and eventually was pushed out of the eight-player field at Guadalajara by the suddenly surging Anett Kontaveit, who took the title in Cluj-Napoca and slid into the final spot, causing Jabeur to drop to alternate. Perhaps that is a good thing for Jabeur, because she is nursing what looks to be a serious elbow injury, and was recently seen wearing a sling.

First Arab – male or female – to reach the top 10

It was a fantastic season for Jabeur. The 27-year-old won 48 matches, won her maiden WTA title at Birmingham, reached her first Wimbledon quarter-final and more than doubled her career total of top 10 wins, going 5-5 against the top-10 after entering the season at 4-8.

Jabeur’s most significant achievement was her breakthrough at Indian Wells, where she reached the semi-finals and assured herself of a top-10 ranking. It made her the first player from the Arab world to ever climb so high in the rankings.

“Deep inside if I was not going to get the top 10 now, I know I’m going to get it after,” she said. “I’m in the right path. I’m working hard. A lot of things going on between the top 10, the race. A lot of things at the same time just to take, maybe each point at a time.”

Pressure is a privilege

Jabeur has done things on her own timeline over the course of her career. But now that she has proven that she belongs among the game’s elite, she can start to embrace the pressure that comes with playing at that level. It’s a process she has needed time to understand.

“I never been in this situation,” she said at Indian Wells. “I never played this long. Never been in top 10 before. It’s a lot of things happening at the same time. This is what I’ve worked for, this is what I want to believe, to achieve. A lot of things at the same time. I finally, with maturity and enough experience, am accepting this kind of pressure is a privilege, it’s a pleasure to have it. When you’re young, you don’t know. You get too stressed, think about the stress. But it’s a good thing.

“I’m learning every day, trying to manage. It’s not easy. Unfortunately some people, they don’t understand it’s not easy. I’m trying my best. I’m trying to play my game, have fun, really take pressure as a pleasure on court.”

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