In an exclusive BBC Sport column, Ons Jabeur describes the surreal experience of teaming up with Serena Williams in Eastbourne doubles and points out that the tennis legend is in good form to perform well at the upcoming Wimbledon.
The last singles match Williams played was in the first-round of last year’s Wimbledon, and it was an incomplete match as the American retired injured. Assessing the tennis legend’s chances at this year’s Wimbledon comeback, Jabeur was very optimistic:
I feel Serena was playing well and moving well. I think she can win matches at Wimbledon.
Jabeur and Williams won two doubles matches at the Rothesay International Eastbourne, but then the pair withdrew before their semifinal due to the Tunisian’s knee injury. Now that they’ve both arrived at Wimbledon, they practiced together on Saturday, as Jabeur continued to live her dream:
After we finished the practice session she was very helpful and said if I needed anything then to let her know.
I was like a sparring partner – I was trying not to miss a ball and to impress her. It was really cool.
Maybe two or three years ago, I would have been so shy to even talk to her and even more nervous.
But the fact I can handle my nerves and felt natural being with her and speaking to her was amazing.
Williams’ first-round opponent at Wimbledon will be unseeded Harmony Tan of France. Jabeur is on the opposite side of the draw and her opponent in the first round will be qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden.
Williams and Jabeur are now focusing on singles, so they will not play doubles at Wimbledon.