Lockdown Days: Ons Jabeur swaps tennis racquet for dancing shoes

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, April 7: Tunisia's star Ons Jabeur, who is stranded in New York due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is contemplating taking up dancing to remain fit as the tennis world finds innovative ways to deal with the lockdown.

The 25-year-old had recently become the first Tunisian and the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne, where she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin of the United States.

She also reached the quarterfinal of the Qatar Total Open in Doha and currently has a career-best WTA ranking of 39.

Jabuer's her rapid rise has been somewhat checked with the tennis season currently suspended until at least mid July with both the clay-court season and grass-court events wiped out due to the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.

"I'm not allowed to eat much as I'm not moving much," a smiling Jabeur said in a video interview posted on the official Australian Open Twitter handle.

"I like to dance, maybe it's time for me to do some dancing in the apartment. Hopefully the neighbours won't kick us out. But for now we're good.

"Cooking is for my husband. Watching lots of films is what we do right now, eating some popcorn also," Jabeur added.

Jabeur could not make her way back home to Tunisia with countries locking down their borders and imposing travel restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.

In the meantime, she is running a social media challenge for fans in Tunisia, asking them to send videos featuring tennis at home.

Jabeur said she is receiving lot of funny videos and the winner will receive one of her racquets.

"I'm kind of stuck in US, but maybe I love being stuck here. I'm just here with my husband, who also happens to be my fitness coach. He's trying to make me work out.

"The only thing we're missing is practising tennis. That's the only thing we aren't doing right now."

With Wimbledon also having been canceled, there will be no competition at least till mid July.

Jabeur, the trailblazer of tennis is Tunisia, is prepared to wait though.

"I know I've the level to be a top-20 player. I just didn't see coronavirus coming. But, I'm just taking it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute."

(With WTA inputs)

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