Ons Jabeur is a professional Tunisian tennis player who has been rising up the ranks in women’s tennis over the past few years.
She made history in 2020 by becoming the first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinal stage of a Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open. In 2021, she won her maiden WTA title at the Birmingham Classic, becoming the first Arab player to win a WTA title.
Jabeur’s success has sparked interest in her background, including her religion. She often speaks about being a role model for Arab women and the Muslim community. So what religion does Ons Jabeur follow? Let’s take a deeper look.
What is Ons Jabeur’s Religion?
Ons Jabeur is Muslim
Ons Jabeur was born and raised in Tunisia, a Muslim-majority country in North Africa. She was born into a Muslim family and follows the Islamic faith herself. In interviews, Jabeur has openly discussed her Muslim identity and how it shapes her worldview and approach to tennis.
Some key facts about Jabeur’s Muslim background:
- She is a practicing Sunni Muslim. Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam worldwide.
- She prays five times a day in accordance with Islamic tradition. She has spoken about the challenges of balancing her prayer ritual with her tennis schedule.
- She wears modest sportswear that align with Islamic dress codes – she covers her arms, legs, and head while competing.
- She is proud of being a role model for Muslim female athletes around the world. She hopes to inspire more Muslim girls to pursue sports.
So in summary, Ons Jabeur is a devout Sunni Muslim who closely follows the tenets of her faith in her personal and professional life. Her Muslim identity is clearly very important to her.
She Fasts During Ramadan
One key aspect of Ons Jabeur’s Muslim faith is that she fasts during the holy month of Ramadan each year.
Ramadan is regarded as the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Fasting requires abstaining from all food and drink during daylight hours.
Jabeur has spoken publicly about the challenges of fasting for Ramadan while competing on the intense WTA tour schedule. She has to maintain grueling training and match regimes while abstaining from food and hydration for upto 18 hours daily.
Some athletes choose to break their Ramadan fasting but Jabeur has made the choice to strictly adhere to fasting while competing. It speaks to her deep commitment to her faith. Her fasting has not stopped her from achieving career milestones like her first WTA title during Ramadan 2021.
She Has Spoken About Her Faith Guiding Her Values
In interviews over the years, Ons Jabeur has emphasized how her Muslim faith provides her values framework and inspires her approach to tennis and life.
Some key points Jabeur has made about her faith:
- She strives to be humble and treat all people with respect, which she says is inspired by Islamic principles.
- She aims to be a positive role model and inspiration to the next generation, which she sees as her duty as a Muslim.
- She wants to promote greater cultural tolerance and understanding between the Arab world and West.
- She adheres to Islamic norms around modesty in how she dresses, despite being an elite athlete.
So for Jabeur, her religion is clearly much more than just a label. It shapes her character and worldview in significant ways.
Ons Jabeur’s Impact as a Muslim Athlete
As one of the few Muslim women competing at the top level of professional tennis, Ons Jabeur understands the pioneering role she occupies. She aims to positively impact two main groups through her achievements:
Inspiring Arab/Muslim Women
Jabeur is acutely aware that she is blazing a trail for Arab and Muslim women in sports. She has spoken often about being inspired by Arab trailblazers before her like Moroccan player Younes El Aynaoui.
But female Arab athletes have been few and far between. Jabeur hopes her success can drive more participation of Arab/Muslim women in sports, especially tennis. Key impacts she aims for:
- Challenge cultural stereotypes or biases that discourage Arab women from sports.
- Inspire more Muslim girls to take up tennis and believe they can excel.
- Become a face of the exciting potential of Arab female athletes.
Jabeur understands she is breaking new ground and takes this responsibility seriously.
Building Cultural Bridges
More broadly, Jabeur wants to support greater cultural understanding between the Arab world and West. As a devout Muslim from an Arab country excelling in a globally popular sport, she is in a unique position to do this.
She aims to build cultural bridges in aspects like:
- Spotlighting common humanity and values between different cultures.
- Showcasing Arab athletes as exciting players in international sports.
- Promoting tolerance of practices like fasting during Ramadan in professional sports.
So Jabeur sees herself as an ambassador – proudly representing her faith and culture while connecting with audiences worldwide through tennis.
Challenges Jabeur Has Faced
While being a trailblazing Muslim female athlete has opened many doors for Ons Jabeur, it has not always been easy. She has had to overcome some unique challenges related to her faith and background, including:
Prejudice and Intolerance
Jabeur has spoken about facing prejudices or intolerant attitudes earlier in her career linked to her Arab Muslim background. As recently as 2019, she was disqualified from a tournament along with another Arab player when officials wrongfully accused them of match-fixing. Jabeur spoke out about the racial profiling she felt was behind the unjust decision.
Such experiences have made Jabeur all the more determined to keep succeeding and prove wrong those who doubt Arab athletes. She wants her excellence to speak for itself.
|Disqualified from tournament along with another Arab player based on wrongful accusations of match-fixing.
Lack of Support Systems
As she climbed the tennis ranks, Jabeur lacked access to the same support systems as peers from tennis stronghold nations. Tunisia had little prior infrastructure or training expertise to assist Jabeur. She had to break new ground with more limited guidance.
Jabeur realized she needed to spend significant time training and competing in Europe instead. Being isolated from family and Tunisian support networks was challenging. But necessary tradeoff.
Pressure as Pioneer
As the first Arab woman excelling at the top tiers of tennis, Jabeur has also felt the weight of expectations from her pioneering status. She balances pride in her barriers-breaking success with pressure to keep delivering more firsts.
Jabeur draws strength from her faith and family to manage this pressure. She is determined to keep inspiring future generations.
Ons Jabeur’s Future Goals
Looking ahead, a history-making WTA title under her belt already at just 27, Ons Jabeur has more milestones in her sights:
Grand Slam Glory
After her quarterfinal run at the 2020 Australian Open, Jabeur is determined to go even further at Grand Slams. Her best result so far is reaching the Wimbledon 2022 final. She aims to become the first Arab/North African player to win a Major singles title.
Top 10 Ranking
Jabeur has been edging towards the top 10 over the past couple years, having reached a career high ranking of world No.2 recently. She wants to cement herself at the pinnacle of the women’s game.
The 2024 Paris Olympics is also a major target. Jabeur aims to become the first Arab woman to medal in Olympic tennis. She showed her capabilities by reaching the quarterfinals at Tokyo 2020.
Inspiring New Generation
Most of all, Jabeur wants to pave the way for more Muslim girls from North Africa and the Middle East to take up tennis. If she can inspire the next trailblazing Arab female player, it would make her most proud.
Jabeur’s faith will continue guiding her as she tries achieving these trailblazing goals.
In summary, Ons Jabeur’s Muslim faith is central to who she is as an athlete and person. She is a practicing Sunni Muslim who adheres to Islamic traditions like fasting during Ramadan. Her religion provides her values framework and inspires her aims to be a humble role model.
As a pioneering Arab Muslim tennis star, Jabeur is determined to positively impact her community. She strives to inspire more Muslim women in sports and build cultural understanding. While facing some challenges, she draws strength from her faith to keep overcoming barriers.
With many more milestones potentially ahead, Jabeur’s Muslim identity will likely remain core to her achievements. She takes pride in excelling as both a world-class athlete and devout Muslim woman.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ons Jabeur’s Religion
Does Ons Jabeur wear a hijab when playing tennis?
No, Ons Jabeur does not wear a hijab while competing. But she dresses modestly in accordance with her Muslim faith, covering her legs, arms, and torso. She also wears a headband that partially covers her hair.
What does Ons Jabeur typically wear on court?
Jabeur wears a long-sleeved athletic top, a tennis skirt, compression shorts or leggings, and a headband when competing. Her outfit choices align with Islamic norms of modesty.
How does Ons Jabeur balance fasting for Ramadan with professional tennis?
Jabeur has spoken of the challenges of fasting 16+ hours while maintaining an intense training and match schedule through Ramadan. She follows guidelines that allow postponing fasts until later for long matches/travel.
Has Ons Jabeur ever spoken about facing discrimination due to her religion?
Yes, Jabeur has faced unfair judgments like being wrongfully accused of match-fixing in 2019, which she believes was linked to racial profiling against Arab players. She aims to overcome prejudice through her excellence.
How does Ons Jabeur feel about being a role model for Muslim female athletes?
Jabeur embraces being a pioneer for Arab/Muslim women in tennis. She hopes her success will inspire more Muslim girls to take up sports and break stereotypes.
What are some of Ons Jabeur’s biggest goals for the future?
Jabeur aims to win a Grand Slam title, become world No.1, win an Olympic medal in 2024, and inspire a new generation of Arab tennis stars through her barrier-breaking success.
Does Ons Jabeur ever struggle managing her faith while on tour?
Balancing obligations like Ramadan fasting with professional tennis is challenging. Being isolated from her support system in Tunisia early in her career was also difficult. But Jabeur draws inner strength from her Muslim faith.
How does Ons Jabeur aim to build cultural bridges through tennis?
As a Muslim player from Tunisia excelling in a global sport, Jabeur hopes to showcase Arab athletes positively. She also wants to promote greater tolerance between cultures.
Has Ons Jabeur ever felt isolated as a Muslim on the pro tennis tour?
While proud of her faith, Jabeur has spoken of facing prejudices. She is also one of the few Arab/Muslim women in professional tennis. But she aims to connect with all people through her shared humanity.