Ons Jabeur has paid tribute to Roger Federer in the wake of the Swiss’ retirement announcement, adding her voice to his millions of fans in declaring it a “sad day for the sport”.
The Tunisian world No. 2 grew up closely watching Federer’s immaculate slice backhand and has built a crafty game around that particular shot.
Jabeur, who has reached back-to-back finals at Wimbledon and the US Open over the last three months, reflected on her brief interactions with the 20-time major champion and lamented the fact that both Federer and Serena Williams are hanging up their racquets at the same time.
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“It’s really sad for the sport. I didn’t wish this day to happen,” Jabeur told Eurosport about the 41-year-old’s impending retirement.
“It’s also harsh because it’s Serena and Roger in the same year, it’s kind of tough. He’s an unbelievable player.”
Last year at Wimbledon, Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab or North African woman to reach the quarter-finals at the Championships.
An impressive victory over Iga Swiatek didn’t just secure her a ticket to the last-eight stage, it also earned her a nod from Federer, who stopped to congratulate her after the match.
“I think now I'm good in my tennis career,” she joked with reporters that day, implying she was set for life now that she had rubbed shoulders with the Swiss Maestro.

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“I’ve met Roger a couple of times; he has such a great sense of humour,” Jabeur revealed to Eurosport on Thursday.
“I remember when he congratulated me on the win against Iga in Wimbledon last year. I was stretching with [my husband and fitness trainer] Karim [Kamoun].
“Karim and [my coach] Issam [Jellali] wanted to take pictures with him. So Karim stopped stretching me and went to take a photo with him. So Roger was like, ‘oh, I’m sorry’, joking because he took my team away from me, and I was like, ‘you can take them forever, that’s okay’. It was a nice moment.
“Honestly, he inspired me a lot, especially, I love his slice; I tried to get inspired by him slicing all the time. Hopefully, we can still see him around the tennis world.”
Federer, who hasn’t competed since his quarter-final exit to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon last year, is set to play his last tournament at the Laver Cup in London next weekend.
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24/11/2022 AT 11:09