The WTA Tour this season has so far been about three players: Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabelanka and Elena Rybakina.
Ons Jabeur is hoping to change that.
Jabeur made two Grand Slam finals in 2022 and finished the year as No. 2 in the rankings behind Swiatek. She has played just eight matches this season, undergoing minor surgery after the Australian Open and missing the Middle East swing.
She has dropped to No. 5 in the rankings while Sabalenka is now the nearest challenger to Swiatek and Rybakina is closing fast after her Indian Wells win.
Jabeur says she is motivated by the challenge of trying to beat Swiatek, Sabalenka and Rybakina.
“Elena won Wimbledon last year. Aryna struggled a bit last year but she regained her confidence. Iga is Iga. I think they have a very powerful game so that’s why it’s great to see them doing amazing.
“I think it’s great motivation for all of us. I know what great players they are and I think it’s fun to challenge them a bit. I have a completely different game from them so maybe it’s time that I make trouble for them a little bit.”
Jabeur will play her opening match at the Miami Open against qualifier Varvara Gracheva on Friday.
She says she is at “90 percent” full health and is treating this week as the new start of her season, having admitted she probably came back too early at Indian Wells.
“Brain and body feel good. I feel like I’m ready here for Miami. The body is getting there, and I’m really excited.
“The tennis is there, I just need to gain back some of the things I was doing before. I also feel my tennis is getting better, just with the technical things that I’ve been working on with my coach.
“I feel like this season is just starting now. This is my January.”
Jabeur’s goal now is to play a full schedule for the rest of the year as she bids to rediscover the level she showed in 2022.
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“We’re trying to do that, to listen to my body and not push too much,” she said.
“I also have a physio with me who can help me with stuff. Everybody plays with an injury. You just need to maintain a certain level to play good tennis and have a full schedule.
“I think I always put pressure on myself to always do better, but it’s a good pressure you know, not the kind that will drive me crazy.
“For now, I think I am just trying to enjoy and get back to my game because I think that is very important to me.”
Jabeur also played doubles at the Miami Open with Paula Badosa but they lost their first match.
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