Ons Jabeur of Tunisia plays a forehand against Diane Parry of France during day five of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Grand Slam pressure can push players to grim places.
Ons Jabeur has turned opening week at Wimbledon into happy days.
The No. 2-seeded Jabeur dismissed Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3, to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for the second year in a row.
It was Jabeur’s eighth straight grass-court win following her title triumph in Berlin last month.
Given two of Jabeur’s three titles have come on grass and she’s coming off a career-best Wimbledon quarterfinal where she knocked off Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Iga Swiatek, you can understand why many view the second seed as a top threat to reach the final.
Striving for perfection, Jabeur is pleased with her week one performance.
“I like to see the perfect tennis, no mistakes or anything,” Jabeur said. “But I am playing the tennis that I love to see. Obviously there’s few things to improve. I want to be challenged for the next round, for sure, and see how I handle that pressure.
“For me, sometimes I start playing not so good. I feel like at the end of the tournament I start playing better and better. When I get more matches and I get used to the courts, to the environment here, I think I start to play better.”
The Tunisian trailblazer’s perpetually positive disposition—and the joyous pride she brings to fans back home has earned her a unique nickname: Minister of Happiness.
“Hopefully I’m sending a great message”@Ons_Jabeur, the Minister of Happiness 😄 🇹🇳#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/E1GKWlN5XI
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2022
“Tunisians are really amazing, really appreciate their support,” Jabeur said. “It wasn’t easy back home for some situations, but they think when they watch my matches, I bring happiness. That’s why they call me that.”
An efficient Jabeur is giving her fans major happy hour nearly every match.
Seeded for the eighth time in a Grand Slam, Jabeur has swept all six sets she’s played surrendering just 13 games along the way.
That dominant display has propelled Jabeur into her second straight Wimbledon fourth round a year after she defeated Iga Swiatek
Three up and three down in just over three hours total of play. Jabeur’s matches have been happy hour for her fans and her expediency should infuses her with confidence and stamina for the fourth round.
Next up for Jabeur is 24th-seeded Elise Mertens. The Belgian veteran beat former Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5.
World No. 31 Mertens scored her first Top 20 win since the 2021 clay season.
Reigning Wimbledon doubles champion Mertens is riding a streak of 18 straight Grand Slams reaching the third round.
Next, Mertens will play for her first Wimbledon quarterfinal vs. Jabeur.
“She’s an amazing player,” Mertens said of Jabeur. “Has been playing very good the past months. But, yeah, I’m here also. I’m here, too, to play a good match, too. It’s in two days, so we’ll see how it goes. But I’m definitely more confident now with this win.
“Of course, never give up and keep fighting on court.”
Madrid champion Jabeur has won two of the last four tournaments she’s played. Now, she’s aiming to make history by becoming the first African woman to win the Wimbledon crown.
“It would mean a lot for me, for my family, for my country, just to keep proving what I want to prove since ever, that nothing is impossible and if you put something in your mind, you can achieve it,” Jabeur said. “[Reaching No. 1] That’s the main goal now. I want to win my first Grand Slam first, then see what happen after.”