Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur has been reduced to tears speaking about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, after her victory at the WTA Finals in Mexico. The World No.7 revealed after her 6-4 6-3 victory against Marketa Vondrousova in Cancun that she would be donating part of her prizemoney from the season-ending event to Palestinians affected by the conflict.
Jabeur gained some revenge for her loss to Vondrousova in this year's Wimbledon final to score her first win at the year-end tournament featuring the top eight female players in the world. The 29-year-old then turned her attention to the plight of those affected in the current conflict, breaking down in tears when discussing the innocent lives that have been lost as a result of the ongoing fighting.
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“I am very happy with the win but I haven’t been happy lately, to be honest with you,” Jabeur said in her on-court interview. “The situation in the world doesn’t make me happy so"... she continued before having to compose herself after bursting into tears.
Ons Jabeur says she’s donating a portion of her prize money to Palestine:
“I am very happy with the win but I haven't been very happy lately. The situation in the world doesn't make me happy... I feel like… I am sorry. It’s very tough seeing children & babies dying every day.… pic.twitter.com/fVBz9McSjU
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) November 2, 2023
"It’s very tough seeing children, babies, dying every day. It’s heartbreaking. So I’ve decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians. It’s not a political message, it’s just humanity. I want peace in this world and that’s it.”
Jabeur was clearly still very emotional when touching on the subject again in her post-match press conference. The Tunisian revealed that she had endured many sleepless nights since the violence broke out between Israel and Palestine in October.
"I try to stay off social media as much as I can but it's very tough," Jabeur added. "You go through horrible photos and videos every day – it doesn't let me sleep or recover very well."
Jabeur said she felt somewhat "hopeless" not being able to do anything about the conflict that has raging on for weeks, and hoped that her donation could help make some small difference to those affected. "The worst thing is I feel hopeless, I feel like cannot do anything," she said. "I wish [for] peace in this world, I wish we could restore humanity."
Ons Jabeur facing must-win Iga Swiatek clash
The Tunisian next faces in-form World No.2 Iga Swiatek in Mexico needing victory to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals of the tournament. Swiatek continued her impressive run by defeating US Open champion Coco Gauff for for the ninth time in 10 meetings.
— wta (@WTA) November 1, 2023
Gauff double-faulted four times in a row during the second set to slump to a disappointing 7-5 6-0 defeat, with errors costing the American dearly. The win means Swiatek - who can overtake Aryna Sabalenka to reclaim the World No.1 spot this week - is the first female player in almost two decades to record 65 or more tour-level wins in back-to-back seasons.
Swiatek's match against Jabeur and Gauff's next up clash with Vondrousova will determine the semi-finalists from that side of the WTA Finals draw. On the other side, American Jessica Pegula has booked her spot in the last-four after beating Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-2 for her third straight win. The other semi-finalist will be determined by the result of Friday's showdown between Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.
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