MELBOURNE (AFP): Ons Jabeur said Saturday she is aiming to become world number one in 2023 and “not lose any more finals” after a breakthrough season when she fell just short of a maiden major crown.
The world number two is on the cusp of Grand Slam glory, having been runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
“I will try to use that experience from last year because it was kind of tough,” the Tunisian said ahead of the Australian Open, the first major of the year, which begins at Melbourne Park on Monday.
“My goal is to not lose any more finals, but just use that to be ready for the next one.”
The 28-year-old became the first Arab and African woman to reach a Slam final last year and will face Slovenia’s world number 88 Tamara Zidansek in the first round on Tuesday.
Jabeur said she would no longer be satisfied with matching her best previous Australian Open performance.
“I may not be as happy as I was in 2020 reaching the quarter-final,” she said.
“The goal as second (ranked) in the world is to be in the second week, to make finals.”
She said she was focused on dislodging Poland’s Iga Swiatek from the top of the rankings and was not afraid to set lofty goals for herself.
“I like this kind of pressure,” she said. “I’m going to put more pressure on myself because I feel like sometimes you just need that to be one of the top players.”
Late bloomer Jabeur was 26 when she lifted her maiden WTA title in 2021 at Birmingham, adding Madrid and Berlin trophies last year. She is keen to make up for lost time.
“I want to be number one in the world, not just the number but also the level and the discipline around it. I want to win more titles and get that Grand Slam title, for sure,” she said.
“I know a lot of players are hungry to do more. It’s going to be very interesting this two weeks.”
Jabeur was stunned by rising Czech teenager Linda Noskova in the semi-finals at Adelaide earlier this month, where she needed treatment on a back injury during the first set.
But she allayed any fitness worries, especially after having to miss last year’s Australian Open with a similar back problem.
“It’s actually much, much better,” she said. “I just needed a couple of days to be ready.”