WTA

Jabeur nervous to partner Serena Williams at Eastbourne as pair prepare for Wimbledon

By Sports Desk June 20, 2022

Ons Jabeur hailed Serena Williams as a "legend" as she expressed her nervousness and excitement to pair with the American great at the Eastbourne International.

Williams has not played a competitive match since defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's Wimbledon and is now ranked at 1,204 in the world.

The 40-year-old, who is one grand slam title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, will feature at the third grand slam of the year, which starts next Monday.

Eastbourne will serve as preparation for the upcoming grass-court major after Williams received a wild card in the doubles draw alongside Jabeur.

Jabeur has been in fine form in 2022, winning the Berlin Open and Madrid Open and rising to world number three, though she remains nervous to play with Williams at Eastbourne.

"I wanted to tell everyone, but obviously I couldn't," Jabeur told the WTA Tour in an interview. "I told my family, but even my close friends, I didn't tell anyone.

"Excited, really lucky that she picked me. I'm pretty glad that I can share the court with her. I always watched Serena playing and always supported her.

"She's such a legend and such an example for our sport. I'm really nervous to play. I hope the match will be great and we'll have great matches.

"I don't know why she picked me to be honest. Maybe she watched Madrid. I met her a few times outside the court and she was always nice.

"I remember exchanging pins with her in Rio. I respect her so much. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. I had to take my time in Berlin, but now it's Eastbourne. I cannot wait for this moment."

Williams and Jabeur have been drawn against unseeded duo Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round on Tuesday.

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