Ons Jabeur draws inspiration from Rafael Nadal’s famous ‘if, if, if’ quote as she opens up about ‘happy crying’
Rafael Nadal is not a fan of the word “if” when it comes to sport and Ons Jabeur is taking a leaf out of the tennis great’s book following her latest Wimbledon heartbreak.
Back in 2015 following a three-set defeat in the quarter-final of the Australian Open, Nadal famously said: “‘If’ doesn’t exist in sport. That’s the real thing. If, if, if – never comes. The thing is, you have to do it. I didn’t have the chance to play the fourth; I lost the third, so that’s it. That’s sport.”
And four years later he again used that quote after beating Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon, stating “if, if, if, doesn’t exist”.
It has become a meme in the tennis world, but there is plenty of truth to it and Jabeur has taken that quote to heart following her third Grand Slam final defeat in the space of a year.
“Rafa once said ‘If, if, if, doesn’t exist,'” the 28-year-old said. “So for me, ‘if I did this, if I did that,’ I’m not going to focus with that. I’m just focusing on what’s happening right now.
“Again, if it doesn’t happen at the US Open, I’m not going to be sad about it. I’m just going to keep trying. If it’s going to work, then great, if not, then I believe that’s my destiny. What’s supposed to happen to me, it’s something I cannot change.
“That’s the beauty of it when you believe in it. As long as I’m doing my best, as long as I’m doing 100 percent, I think that’s fair.”
The Tunisian also lost last year’s Wimbledon final as she was beaten by Elena Rybakina while Iga Swiatek defeated her in the US Open final last September.
She was the favourite to win Wimbledon this year as she took on the unheralded Marketa Vondrousova in the final, but she never got going and lost in straight sets.
The defeat took its toll, but she received plenty of support from the tennis world, including former world No 1 Andy Roddick.
The American wrote: “I have more faith in you winning Wimbledon than I ever had in myself winning Wimbledon. Take a breath, take a minute, make sure you prepare, keep your fitness going.
“She’s someone I really hope wins a Grand Slam title at some point.”
Receiving a message from her idol certainly opened the emotional floodgates for Jabeur.
“I was crying, happy crying,” she said. “I appreciate that he took the time to write a good long message. I’m definitely talking to him when I see him probably at the US Open.”
The 28-year-old struggled in the days after her Wimbledon as she missed last week’s Canadian Open, but she will return to action at the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday.
“I had to take a few days – a lot of days off – to recover and still, it was not enough,” she said. “I wasn’t feeling ready to play Montreal because that loss was kind of tough for me. So I tried to stay home, be with my family.
“I tried to reflect a bit on the final, but for now, I’ve got to be honest, it’s still tough to think about it again.”
She added: “I need to get back to tour and be able to move on and the best thing is just to play tournaments, just to focus on what I’m doing and what I want to do.
“Definitely not giving up. That’s something that I’m very sure about it, that I’m going to give my best. Every time I step on the tennis court it’s going to be 100 percent.”
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