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"We take more time": Jaziri says success is arriving for Arab players
The Tunisian is aiming to climb back to the high of No. 42 he reached in 2019, while countrywoman Jabeur is at a career-high No. 39 in the WTA rankings and Egypt's Mohamed Safwat recently reached No. 130.
Published Mar 02, 2020
The recent success of Arab players should help others from the region coming up, according to Tunisia's Malek Jaziri.
The 36-year-old has dropped in the rankings but is aiming to climb back to the high of No. 42 he reached in 2019, while countrywoman Ons Jabeur, 25, is at a career-high No.39 in the WTA rankings; and Egypt's Mohamed Safwat, 29, recently reached No. 130 on the ATP Tour.
Playing the ATP event in Dubai as a wild card, Jaziri called it a positive sign.
"Is good to have someone, one or two players in the circuit for the young generation to keep playing," he said.
That is especially important because players from that region tend to take longer to break through to the upper levels. While both Dubai and Doha have ATP and WTA events, there are relatively few low-level competitions for players.
"We take more time than European or American players. We don't have the same opportunity from the tournaments," Jaziri said. "The French, they have more tournaments, [for players aged] 16 or 17. They put the French Open qualies, tournaments, ATP challengers.
"We don't have tournaments. You get [ranked] 200, 300, maybe [No.] 150, then you have the chance to play these big tournaments."
Both Jabeur and Safwat can climbed higher, according to Jaziri. Jabeur has been on a good run—she got to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the semifinals of Doha.
"Is really good," said Jaziri. "All the girls, she beat them when she was in the juniors. They're playing now with her, a few are Top 10 or Top 5 [in the WTA]. I always believed on her that she can make even much better than what she did. She [has] the talent and potential to do it."
Safwat qualified for the Australian Open—where he lost to Gregoire Barrere in the first round—and then won his first ATP challenger in Launceston, Australia.
"I think he can make Top 100. He [has] a good level," said Jaziri. "I think [he's improved] a lot mentally. His game is the same game. I think he played lot of matches that [gave] him lot of confidence. He won a few matches beginning of this year."
Jaziri fell to Novak Djokovic in the first round of Dubai. The top-ranked Djokovic went on to win his fifth Dubai title.