'We Deserve Better': Jabeur Calls Out Governing Bodies For Lack Of Respect & Investment

'We Deserve Better': Jabeur Calls Out Governing Bodies For Lack Of Respect & Investment

by Nurein Ahmed

Ons Jabeur believes that tennis governing bodies and the media are only doing the bare minimum in promoting and investing in women's tennis.

Jabeur is a tennis trailblazer, having been ranked at a career-high World No. 2—the highest peak by an African and Arab player. Last year, she contested her third Grand Slam final, where she lost to the history-making Marketa Vondrousova.

The Tunisian is a well-respected pro by her fellow peers and is one of the most charismatic players on tour. Jabeur complements her charming personality with an exciting brand of tennis, which makes her a must-see when she is playing in a tournament.

This fortnight, Jabeur has captivated the audience in the Caja Magica. She delivered one of her best performances of the year, dismantling Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-4, to reach the quarterfinal of the Madrid Open.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Jabeur expressed that women's sports, and tennis in particular, just haven't commanded the respect of sporting bodies and journalists. She believes they deserve better.

"I feel like they need to respect women more and they need to respect how we are playing. Some things we feel it, and yeah, in maybe like a lot of things in practices, the way they treat women here and men, they’re completely different. Maybe people from outside, they don’t see it."

"Yeah, I’m definitely one of the people that I want to speak up. I really enjoy watching women’s tennis, enjoy watching women’s sports in general. I think we deserve better. It’s not like we are not doing any effort and we are asking for more what we deserve, for sure."

Jabeur has been very vocal in advocating for equal pay between men and women on tour. Last year, the three-time Grand Slam finalist called for Italian Open organizers to offer equal prize money by 2025. The tournament is currently in the process of doing that, but not in the immediate future.

She further explained that people judged women's tennis without even watching it. Jabeur highlighted a case in point of how broadcasters in Spain barely even cover women's matches on television as the tournament in Madrid is going on.

"Sometimes I don’t really think that it’s just a question of money, but also respect, because sometimes I just, you know, and I say it again and I told you so many times that people would judge women’s tennis without even watching one match. That pisses me off a lot."

"I feel as a woman playing, for me inspiring a whole new generation, for example, here in Spain, I would love to go to the hotel and open the TV and see a woman’s tennis match. I haven’t seen once one tennis match of woman. All they’re showing – obviously I understand there is a lot of Spanish playing, but asking for one match? Even the female Spanish [players] they are not even showing."


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