Interview:  Ons Jabeur – QF (def. Anna Kalinskaya 6-0 4-1 ret.)
Friday, April 7, 2023
Quarterfinals –  Ons Jabeur (TUN) def. Anna Kalinskaya 6-0 4-1 Retired
The Moderator: Obviously not the way you want to reach the semifinals, but congratulations. Can you just give us your thoughts on your performance today.
ONS JABEUR: I wish Anna a speedy recovery. I think it was a great match for me. I think I did everything how it’s supposed to be and listened to my coach 100 percent for the first time in my career.
Question: Ons, to get into the semifinals here, I don’t know if you didn’t expect that at the beginning of the week, or how do you sort of think back to Monday when we sat with you at that roundtable? And maybe the hope for the week and how you feel about arriving to the Final Four?
ONS JABEUR: I got another photo shoot so… (laughter). Just match by match, you know. The drill wasn’t easy. A lot of players are here, very competitive. But I was feeling good on the practice. I was training well with my team. Playing matches is always different. And I felt like, okay, I’m just going to focus on each match and see what’s going to happen.
Honestly, I’m going to still do the same, you know, hoping that Keys and Kasatkina play for five hours, and I’m just going to be ready for the semis.
Question: Congratulations. You’ve obviously had a lot of success here in the past, reaching the finals last year and now you’re through to the semis. What is it about Charleston that allows you to have such success on the clay court?
ONS JABEUR: Just the clay is really amazing. A lot of years, the green clay, just the love from people, everything, the organization. We are very relaxed, and we don’t worry about anything else but to take the racquet and play on the courts.
Really thanks to everyone that makes this tournament happen. You feel like it’s calm, and it’s the right place to play tennis.
Question: I know you’re hopeful they’re going to play for a while, but Maddie and Dasha would offer you quite different matchups, if you don’t mind talking a little bit about each of those potentials.
ONS JABEUR: Completely two different players. Keys hit a lot of strike balls. She’s really like a power player, and it’s definitely going to be tough if she wins. Dasha, we had a lot of three-setters together. It’s going to be definitely a physical match. She’s someone that loves clay. She’s someone that her game suits clay a lot. I think the key tomorrow probably will be patience.
Question: With the weather coming in on Saturday, how does that —
ONS JABEUR: What’s the weather?
Question: Supposed to be some rain tomorrow.
ONS JABEUR: Oh, really?
Question: Like all day long.
ONS JABEUR: Oh, wow.
Question: How does that hurt you, help you in your mental preparation for going into a semis?
ONS JABEUR: It depends who plays. Well, it’s Keys or Kasatkina. Definitely the ball will be heavier if we get to play. I’m going to call my people in Tunisia and bring the sun here. I was trying to do that the whole week. It’s working, you know. Let’s see.
It’s definitely going to be tricky. It depends how it’s going to rain, if it’s the whole day, if you go in and out the whole time.
For me the most important thing, I will try to use the conditions to my benefit.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?
Question: Sorry, yes.
ONS JABEUR: Code violation warning (laughter).
Question: I think you’re aware that Eleanor Adams is retiring after this year. You spend your year at different tournaments and dealing with different folks. What does actually make her and what she’s done at this tournament so special?
ONS JABEUR: You know, I didn’t know that. No, no, I know before you tell me, but we knew that at a players’ party, and I think everybody was shocked.
It’s funny because I always knew the name but never really met her. I only met her when COVID — we played when Kudermetova won, in ’21. That’s actually when I had a conversation — I always see her, but I didn’t know it was her.
She’s an amazing person. So when you make it to a tournament and you know the organizers, because they come to you and they say hello and if you need anything, usually in a couple tournaments you don’t know who organizes it and people don’t approach you, like from outside. She’s an amazing person, and she was very helpful. I told her I’ll try to win it this time because this is the last time maybe I change her mind to stay a few more years. Maybe if she wants to come to Tunisia and chill there.