Ons Jabeur is pulling "double" duty at next week's WTA Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open beginning on February 5, 2024. She is one of the top-ranked players in the tournament along with Elena Rybakina, Barbora Krejcikova, Maria Sakkari, and Beatriz Haddad Maia.
In addition to playing singles, Jabeur is pairing with wildcard Naomi Osaka for ladies' doubles. This doubles team, which has never played before, should be fresh because each player lost early in the Australian Open. Jabeur was ousted in the second round by Mirra Andreeva, and Osaka lost in the first round to Caroline Garcia, who is also slated to play in this event.
Jabeur and Osaka have more in common than their recent performance on the tennis court. Jabeur has spoken honestly about her bitter disappointment over losing the 2023 Wimbledon Championship to Marketa Vondrousova because had she won, she was planning to start a family. Osaka is coming back to the WTA Tour from a year-long maternity leave in 2023.
What should we expect from an Ons Jabeur and NaomI Osaka doubles team?
While Jabeur was not off as long as Osaka, she did not play any warmup events before the Australian Open so she was arguably a little rusty when she faced Andreeva. Osaka is trying to shake off the rust and gain her match-play instincts and fitness back after giving birth to her daughter Skai in July. This appears to be a partnership that could play some exciting tennis and help each other get their games on track before the Sunshine Swing of Indian Wells and Miami in March.
With Aryna Sabalenka playing so dominantly in Australia to repeat as the Australian Open champion and Iga Swiatek the presumed favorite on clay for Roland Garros and the Paris Olympics, will Jabeur or Osaka have an opportunity to win a Grand Slam or Olympic gold medal this year? We will have to wait and see.