Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
O. JABEUR/V. Zvonareva
6-2, 2-6, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A tough match today. Talk about how you got through it and what made the difference in the end.
ONS JABEUR: Very, very tough match. I mean, it’s great to be back. You can feel like I haven’t been playing so many matches lately.
To be honest, the most important thing was to be healthy and to be able to finish this match. I was struggling a lot beginning of the season, so I wasn’t really sure. I didn’t want to anticipate any results or think about winning or losing. So, yeah, I’m very grateful to be healthy.
She plays good. It’s not easy to play her. Honestly I didn’t feel so many shots. I think lack of matches didn’t help me much. I’m glad that the little experience I had helped me to win this match today.
Q. How disappointed were you to miss Australia, a special place for you?
ONS JABEUR: I was very sad and disappointed, but also very patient. I tried everything possible to play the match. I even warm up that day, put every possible tape on my back. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible for me to play.
I got to say I’m very proud of myself because few years back I would have played and injured myself more. But this time I felt like I was more mature, was able to think about my body.
But, yeah, everything happens for a reason. I’m just trying to be patient, to be honest, and get this season going.
Q. Mayar was just in here. Having two Arabs playing back to back at this tournament is something we don’t see. What did it mean for you to be part of this special moment?
ONS JABEUR: I don’t think it happened before, no?
ONS JABEUR: Mayar is a great player. I met her and her team. It’s so nice to see her here. Hopefully she will get better. I know it’s not easy to start those tournaments. I’ve been there. I played those tournaments. It was very tough to win the first rounds.
I am hundred percent sure she is going to get there. Hopefully she will get better in the future.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the energy in your match today. It appeared to be a little up and down. When you are coming back and playing a match tough as this one, are you always able to stay focused, maintain an equilibrium in the mind, or is it up and down?
ONS JABEUR: I mean, today was up and down for sure. I don’t think it’s possible for a human being to be hundred percent focused the whole match for two hours. I mean, I tried to be focused as much as possible. I tried to not, like, let her get in my head, not let myself get in my head. Sometimes with a lot of mistakes, it’s not easy to be focused, to let the frustration take over.
I felt like today I got angry a little bit, but not as much as before. I’m really happy with the fact I maintained calm, belief to win until the last second of the match.
Q. You have Jessica Pegula next. I know you guys are quite friendly, but talk a little bit about her and how you see that match.
ONS JABEUR: Very tough player. Not easy. Not someone that gives you a great rhythm to play. I’ve won the last time in Chicago. Was feeling very good there. But I’m expecting a very, very difficult match. I still need to talk to my coach.
I’m just coming back. To be honest, I don’t want to put the pressure on myself. I know she’s going to play great. I mean, let’s see. I’m going to try to deliver of my magic.
Q. You spoke about not letting her get into your head. Obviously she’s been around a lot. She’s a fighter, a stayer. How was it playing someone like that?
ONS JABEUR: I mean, everybody knows her. She’s a tough player. She has a lot of experience. But it’s not the same player as before. I know that today maybe I am much better on the court. But you never know with her experience, with her coming back, her shots. She can really be a tough player.
Keeping that in mind during the match helps me a lot to get the win.
Q. When you say you believe that Mayar will get there, she’ll make it, if you got a chance to watch her play, what stands out to you? What qualities do you think will help her get there?
ONS JABEUR: Yeah, I’ve watched today’s match, a little bit, not the whole of it. I think her fighting spirit is what got her into top 10 — top hundred. Maybe she’s going to be top 10 now, I said top 10 (smiling).
I won’t tell you what she needs to work on, but I feel like she has the forehand, it’s really good when she’s attacking. You never know when she could come back. She never gives up.
I think her best quality is she’s such a fighter on the court.