Ons Jabeur has joined the Australian Open's post-match interview hall of fame after a hilarious slip of the tongue after her victory on Tuesday night. The World No.2 was given a slight scare as she recorded a 7-6 (10-8) 4-6 6-1 victory over Tamara Zidansek.
The Tunisian star had heavy taping on her right knee and had to save three set points before taking the opener in a tiebreak. She then lost the second set before prevailing in the decider.
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The 28-year-old Jabeur won the third set in just 28 minutes. At one stage she won six consecutive games as she sealed her place in the second round.
"It was a very tough match. I wasn't playing very well and she was putting a lot of pressure on me," Jabeur said in her on-court interview. "I know she's a player that doesn't give up and brings every ball in, so I was pretty frustrated but I'm glad that I let it out in the second set. I just told myself to be number two in the world and just win this match."
When asked how she would recover for her second round match, Jabeur had the crowd in stitches with an accidental X-rated gaffe. "Ice baths and I’m going to make my husband work tonight ... a lot of massage and good recovery."
After fans burst out laughing, the World No.2 said with a bashful grin: "Massage guys, massage. For those who don’t know my husband is also my fitness coach and does everything for me.”
Jabeur's husband Karim Kamoun was been by her side for a number of years, both in tennis and their personal lives. He has helped her rise to the top of women's tennis, with Jabeur making the final at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
Her funny gaffe on Tuesday night had fans reminiscing of other post-match mishaps at the Australian Open, including Daria Gavrilova accidentally saying she was "good from behind" and Rafa Nadal landing in hot water with his wife when he said she'd "earned a wildcard" to come and watch him play.
Ons Jabeur joins big guns in second round at Open
Jabeur's victory came after fellow big guns Caroline Garcia and Aryna Sabalenka earlier won in straight sets. Sabalenka continued her unbeaten start to 2023 with a 6-1 6-4 win over Czech player Tereza Martincova, while Garcia crushed Canadian qualifier Katherine Sebov 6-3 6-0.
Belarusian star Sabalenka is chasing an elusive first grand slam title. She has been unable to play under her national flag due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Tennis Australia announced on Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian flags had been banned entirely from Melbourne Park, including in the stands. "I really thought that like tennis - not tennis, just the sport - is nothing to do with politics," Sabalenka said.
"But if everyone feels better this way, then it's okay. I mean, I have zero control on it. What can I say?"
Sabalenka will play Shelby Rogers of the USA in the second round, while Garcia will face Canada's 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez. Garcia beat Sabalenka to win the WTA Finals last year.
"First round of the first slam of the year, I was not really expecting to come here as the No.4 seed. So I'm very grateful to play on Rod Laver Arena - it's my first win here so I'm very happy," she said.
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