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‘We’re Close Friends’- Ons Jabeur Opens Up About Rare Friendship With Spanish Tennis Legend Amid Coach’s Absence


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Ons Jabeur has made one of her greatest triumphs in the Madrid Open tournament during her partnership with her coach, Issam Jellali. However, this time, it will not be the same for her. With Jellali taking a break from his coaching duties, Jabeur had to find a temporary replacement for him. But, quite surprisingly, this has led her to enjoy a friendship with her temporary coach, Fernando Verdasco. And she also revealed how she wants to “play more matches” with him.

During her Madrid Open tournament, the Tunisian player sought the help of a former top-10 player for guidance on the court. Although their partnership is going to be for the Madrid Open tournament, the coach-player duo has found their own rhythm on the court. Ons Jabeur recently revealed how their bond extends beyond their professional commitments. “We’re close friends,” she said in an interview.

Verdasco, who recently welcomed his third baby, is all set to bring new energy to Jabeur’s game. And so far, it is working. Jabeur had her latest victory over Anna Karolina in the opening round of the Madrid Open.


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Jabeur, who admires Verdasco for his amazing achievements in his career, wishes to play more matches with him. “I’ve always been a fan of him as a player, but also as a person. He’s helping me this week, so hopefully we can have more matches together.” 

Jabeur, who is full of praise for her current coach, has achieved milestones in her career even during her four-year partnership with Jellali. Along with multiple titles to her name, she even reached the second position in the WTA ranking with Jellali by her side.


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However, while referring to her new collaboration with the former World No. 7, Jabeur admitted that right now she is invested in playing with a “Spanish mentality.” And as she qualifies for the next round, she revealed how she joked with last year’s Madrid Open winner regarding the potential winner this year.

“It’s time for me in 2024,” says Ons Jabeur about her Madrid Open title

Aryna Sabalenka, the defending champion of the tournament, has won the Madrid Open title twice, in 2021 and 2023. However, in between her years of victory, it was Ons Jabeur who earned it in 2022. Ons Jabeur’s victory in the tournament was indeed a special achievement, as she made history by becoming the first Arab or North African woman to achieve the WTA 1000 crown. However, she is not done yet. She is hopeful of winning it again this year.


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While joking about the coincidence of winning the tournament on an alternative basis, Jabeur said to Sabalenka, “It’s time for me in 2024. It’s like back and forth, you know.” She further added how she enjoys playing in this tournament, remarking, “I enjoy playing here. Especially when I really find my rhythm because I feel like the small altitude here really helps.”

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Ons Jabeur’s love for the Spanish capital is not new. Apart from having her favorite football team from the same state, she also revealed how she would like to settle down in Madrid with her husband. But for now, she is focused on her next match in the game. And as she competes with her new coach by her side, fans are excited to see how she performs in her upcoming match.

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