Owens Jubair intends to encourage more young women to take up tennis, especially in North Africa.
The two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist is preparing for his third appearance in the Games, and will arrive in Japan after being knocked out of the first round in 2012 and 2016.
“I have been preparing for the Olympics since Roland Giros (in June),” Jaber told AFP from his training base in Tunisia.
“I have to stay focused, especially since I know a lot of Tunisians expect me to play against the best players, in matches that will be very difficult.”
Jabier Araik, 26, will meet Spanish cancer survivor Carla Suarez Niaro in her opening match at the Tennis Park, with Wimbledon runner-up Carolina Pliskova facing a potential second-round opponent.
“I am ready for this challenge. A gold medal in Tokyo is my dream. What I am most proud of is representing Tunisia,” Jubair said.
“The Grand Slams are important, but the Olympics are special, and I tell the Tunisians that I am going to give you everything in court for you.
“My place in the world of tennis is not like other players because I represent Tunisia, the Arabs and Africa at the same time, and that’s something I’m very proud of,” he added.
“There are a lot of players from France, Australia, the United States and I’m proud to represent an entire nation.”
Jaber made it to the top 50 after running in the last eight of the Australian Open, where she became the first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinals of a major in the Open.
Following the breakout performance, Tunisian President Qais Seid hailed her as “an example for women and young people”, almost a decade after winning the French Open Junior Championship in 2011.
“I learned from my mistakes. In 2019, I told my team that I have enough to come in at 60 and I want to be one of the best players in the world,” Jabbar said.
“When I reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, I gained more experience and confidence and it allowed me to better prepare for the tournament. Other players began to be afraid to play me.”
Jabbar made history as the first Arab woman to win a WTA tournament at Wimbledon, defeating Daria Kasatkina on the grass in the Birmingham Classic final.
Its success has helped alleviate some of Tunisia’s political and health crises. The country has been overwhelmed by the Cowboys 19, including about 18,000 people who have died in a nation of 11.7 million.
Jubair recently held a racket to raise funds for local hospitals, which are facing severe shortages of oxygen, staff and intensive care beds.
“It was my duty to help my country when I needed it. We managed to raise 75,000 dinars, about ڈالر 27,000, to buy equipment for these hospitals,” he said.
While Jubair’s goal is to increase the rate of participation on the field of play, he still has a lot of goals to achieve.
“My childhood dream has been to win titles in big competitions, and I know I’m not too far away,” said Jubair.
“I always say that nothing is impossible, you have to work, be self-reliant and have confidence in your abilities.
“Throughout my career, I have largely doubted my ability to reach this point, but my faith in myself and my work has allowed me to move forward.”