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Jabeur and fellow trick-shot artists Kyrgios, Bublik show variety is here to stay at Wimbledon
"I'm finally happy with my team, that they are supporting me. Sometimes you can surprise the player with a drop shot, sometimes a good one, then you have an easy ball," the Tunisian said Friday.
Published Jul 02, 2021
MATCH POINT: Jabeur finishes off Muguruza
Unconventional games are making a name for themselves this Wimbledon. Both Nick Kyrgios and Sasha Bublik are into the third round—drop shots, tweener volleys, underarm serving and all.
Ons Jabeur has joined fellow trick-shot artists with a three-set win against former champ Garbine Muguruza that included a leaping forward-facing tweener and going round the net for a winner.
"I've never tried it. I was always looking to different players doing this shot. I wanted to have this shot one day. It came through today," she said of the winner round the net. "Honestly, it's gonna be one of my favorite shots that I ever did."
The 26-year-old Tunisian is having the most successful season of her career, reaching the fourth round of the French Open and winning her first title at Birmingham for a career-high No .24 in the rankings. And she's doing it with her usual touch and variety, including the now-familiar drop shots.
"I've always been stubborn, and never listen to the coach when they tell me not to do drop shots," said Jabeur.
"It's a tricky shot, it's a good shot. Sometimes when you do it a lot, it's bad. So I'm finally happy with my team, that they are supporting me. Sometimes you can surprise the player with a drop shot, sometimes a good one, then you have an easy ball. I always try to make good shots before and be aggressive to be able to change the rhythm with the drop shot."
She likes to show her arsenal of tactics, and her emotions.
"You can see me getting angry, smiling, laughing. So I think it's part of my personality," she said.
Kyrgios has called for more players to develop their own styles, saying this week that he has often been criticized for the way he plays on court.
"I got told to play a certain way. I got told to play like Diego Schwartzman when I was young. Cross court, be disciplined, don't change direction too much. Maybe don't hit a big second serve there, that's a bad drop shot," he said. "I think people now, especially myself, don't really care what people think I should play like. I know what I should play like. I feel comfortable and I'm happy the way I play."
And the Australian is pleased to have others joining him.
"It's good to see players like that, like not conforming to what the sport wants you to play like," he said, referring to Bublik. "That style of tennis, I'm glad there's more players like that that can prove that that style of tennis is high percentage for some people."
Jabeur also has company on the women's side with Hsieh Su-Wei, whose unusual technique propelled her to the Australian Open quarterfinals. There's also top players like No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Barty, whose slice and touch are integral to her game.
The 21st-seeded Jabeur faces 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek in the round of 16.