Ons Jabeur eager to learn from Serena Williams in doubles

Ons Jabeur is eager to learn from Serena Williams when they pair up at Rothesay International Eastbourne, but the 23-time Grand Slam champion canceled her scheduled practice session at the venue on Monday.

The 40-year-old took the tennis world cold on Tuesday when a return to Wimbledon was unexpectedly announced after she was given a wild card despite not playing since injuring her right leg at SW19 last summer.

Williams is expected to step up preparations for the All England Club by playing at Eastbourne but has yet to set foot in Devonshire Park, having trained at a local club over the weekend, while his planned practice at the venue on Monday was canceled after 30 minutes. to notice.

Jabeur and the great American are set to kick off their doubles campaign on Tuesday against Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova.

“I’m a good keeper of secrets! Yes, I already knew before the French Open”, revealed the new world number three, Jabeur, after arriving fresh from victory in Berlin on Sunday.

“A lot of players were jealous because I’m playing with her. Honestly, Serena is Serena. She is a legend and always will be.

“The fact that she has come back and I can be a part of her journey is really unbelievable. She did a lot for our sport and I really respect her, I respect her story, I respect everything she went through.

“Hopefully I can learn up to two percent from this. Now I’m playing with other doubles players, I was like, if you’re 20 grand slams short, don’t even ask me to play doubles with you anymore.”

Jabeur’s success at the Bett1 Open has only increased belief that she is one of the top contenders to win at Wimbledon this year after reaching the quarter-finals in 2021.

The Tunisian was scheduled to play singles at Eastbourne, but after her exploits in Germany, she will now only be involved in doubles at the WTA 500 event.

It was Eric Hechtman, who is set to coach Williams following his split from Patrick Mouratoglou, who first made contact about the potential tag team partnership last month.

“Not a second to think about it. It’s an obvious yes,” Jabeur insisted.

“But I can’t wait to see her, I haven’t seen her yet. I hope we can get together and talk a little bit and see, because I’m really excited. I want to win this duo and why not win the title here, you know?

“She’s an inspiration and the fact that we’re playing doubles together. It’s great news for me and it’s unbelievable.

“I honestly never expected her to pick me or even play doubles after a long time, but I feel like I’m coming back and all the memories of seeing her win a lot of Grand Slams. I hope it won’t make me too nervous, standing next to her.”

Williams’ former sparring partner Karolina Pliskova has warned the veteran that her time off the court will make any hope of a good run in SW19 very difficult.

Last year’s Wimbledon finalist added: “I don’t know how long she hasn’t played. Is she a year old? It’s been a long time and she’s not the youngest anymore, so I think her body also takes some time to get back into shape.

“Playing matches in tournaments is still very different from just practicing and from what I understand she’s not playing (singles) here, she’s just playing doubles.

“I think it’s going to be hard, super hard for her, no matter what kind of player she is, because that’s one thing you still need some time on.

“But of course she is an amazing player, she has achieved a lot and yet many players will be too scared to face her. This is her advantage, but let’s see the level. I really can’t say.”

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