Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What is your assessment of the match today? What do you think made the difference?
ONS JABEUR: I think, I mean, physically I’m trying to come back. It’s not easy to not be 100% with Simona playing at this level. So, yeah, I think the main key for me was physically I think I wasn’t strong enough on my legs. Breathing-wise, moving-wise was not so good. Yeah, she was much better than me.
I mean, it’s completely normal. I understand. I just want to keep positive. I don’t like to lose like this, but first tournament after injury, so I really am glad that I at least won two matches here.
Q. You looked very frustrated with yourself on the court. Like you said, it’s still the beginning for you after an injury. Are you able to keep a positive mindset or you’re telling yourself this until you convince yourself?
ONS JABEUR: I think being frustrated just shows the player I am on the court. I always believe that I can do better even though I knew perfectly today or this week I wasn’t completely ready.
But I get frustrated because I want to do better, I want to be better on court, I want to be a better player, I want to push Simona more. I couldn’t do that today. The fact that I cannot do it made me a little bit angry.
It seems very easy to play her, but it’s not. She’s someone that changes the rhythm a lot. She makes you do a lot of mistakes. That really got into my head and made me really angry.
Yeah, something else to work on for the next matches.
Q. Looking back at the start of the week, would you have taken this, quarterfinals, or do you see it as a missed opportunity?
ONS JABEUR: No, I would have taken the quarterfinal of course. I mean, honestly to not lie to you guys, when I started playing here, I came to Dubai and again I felt another injury for some reason from middle of nowhere.
So, yeah, my patience, for me to start the season, to start this tournament, was kind of difficult. But then we managed to practice, we managed to get used to the balls. Still during practice wasn’t great at all the first few days. The fact that I played that way for the other two matches, I think it’s really good for me. I really keep positive mind here.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Sania. I know you played doubles with her. She’s playing her last year on the tour. Has she been any kind of an influence for you, and what kind relationship do you share with her?
ONS JABEUR: I have a lot of things in common with Sania. We’re really good friends. I love her son a lot. She’s such a nice person, such an inspiration for all of us.
I had the chance to play doubles with her. I’m not at her level doubles-wise. But it’s good to have her on tour. I actually didn’t know it was her last year. It’s really sad.
I hope we can see her more on tour after being a tennis player, maybe being a coach or something. I think she could be a great inspiration for many of us.
Q. Just a word on the fans and the support you had today. How much motivation does that give you?
ONS JABEUR: It’s great support, for sure. I mean, to have all the Tunisian fans, fans always supporting me, it’s great to have them here.
I know they wanted me to push more, like go further in this tournament. But, yeah, I mean, that’s tennis and it’s tough. It’s always nice to hear them screaming and competing with the other crowd.
I’m expecting a similar crowd in Doha. Yeah, hopefully I can at least play better there.
Q. We spoke to Sania in Australia and she said one of the reasons she bonded with you is that both of you are kind of trailblazers in the Muslim world in tennis; she can relate to the things you went through. Can you talk a little bit about that.
ONS JABEUR: Like I said, we have a lot in common together with Sania. She can understand like how to be a Muslim on tour, how to be a player, one of a kind from Tunisia or India. Obviously we have different culture, but I think if you see and look for it, you can see there is a lot of similarity in both of us.
Yeah, we always chat. I feel like she can understand me. I’m not sure if I speak to American or French, it could be the same. With her, Sania, she’s really a great player. We talked about so many topics. I can stay for hours talking about it. But I think she can really, really understand me.
Q. Looking ahead to Doha, are you going with the mindset of you’re still worried about your body or it’s just a matter of you’re a bit short on matches?
ONS JABEUR: Just a matter of playing more matches and being ready. I think physically it will take a lot of time. My main goal is really like to get back on court and kind of the same fitness that I had before.
Obviously I need time. Those things doesn’t happen very quickly. But, yeah, I’m looking really forward to play in Doha.