Ons Jabeur will be making her grand slam main draw debut at the US Open on Monday (1st match on Court 5, 19:00 UAE time), three years after winning the Roland Garros junior title in Paris.
The young Tunisian, who turns 20 on Thursday, has found a new home in the form of the Mouratoglou Academy in Paris, which she joined last May in an effort to fulfil her much-hyped potential.
Jabeur had peaked at 135 in the rankings late last season before she took time off for an ankle surgery. Her post-recovery journey has not been the smoothest but it appears her new coaching arrangement is starting to pay off, having made the final in Landisville earlier this month and now making it to her maiden grand slam main draw.
Her last two rounds in US Open qualifying were gruelling three-set affairs that lasted two and half hours apiece, but Jabeur powered through under the watchful eyes of her coach Nicolas Beuque and Patrick Mouratoglou – world No1 Serena Williams' coach and founder of the Mouratoglou Academy.
"I’m very happy I qualified to my first grand slam," Jabeur told Sport360°.
"I deserved this qualification because I played some really tough matches in qualies, with the last two matches lasting two and a half hours.
"Physically I was tired but I gave it my all and I’m here in the main draw and I hope I can continue to do my best and maybe win more matches."
Jabeur admits the familial atmosphere at the Mouratoglou Academy has helped her regroup as she targets a place in the world’s top-100.
"When you play at a certain level you have to be more active, more on the court. I have to practice more and I think I’m in a good place to make it to the top level," added Jabeur.
"At the academy, you get to see the whole team and how professional people are there. You can see Patrick Mouratoglou and all the other players, like Jeremy Chardy for example, and you feel like one of them, one of their family, and it’s really good for me.
"My coach is really nice and really professional."
Jabeur is the only Arab playing at the US Open this fortnight and became just the third Tunisian – behind Selima Sfar and Malek Jaziri – to feature in the main draw in New York.
She opens her campaign against German No18 seed Andrea Petkovic but says she is not daunted by the task at hand.
"Impossible is not Tunisian," said Jabeur. "I saw her play, she has a good forehand and she’s kind of different to the other girls.
"I’m going to speak with my coach and see what we can do.
"I’m going to give my best. I have nothing to lose and I hope I can win this match and why not win more?"
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