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Ons Jabeur Joins North Carolina Courage Ownership Group

Ons Jabeur is investing in the NWSL. She’s joined the Courage ownership group as she looks to expand opportunities for all woman athletes.

Ons Jabeur may have a tennis racket permanently affixed to her right hand, but don’t be fooled: The three-time Grand Slam finalist is a serious NWSL fan. As she expands her investment portfolio, her latest venture should not come as a surprise to fans of the current world No. 5.

Jabeur announced on Friday that she is officially a part of the North Carolina Courage ownership group, joining fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka as the second professional tennis player to back the side.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” the 28-year-old told Boardroom in an exclusive interview. “I believe everything happens for a reason and for me, it was the right time to do it. I know that the men’s World Cup is coming soon to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. So that made me think that it’s a great idea right now to invest. I know how it’s evolving in women’s soccer and I thought now is a great time to really push more because I believe women’s soccer is truly on the rise right now.”

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Club majority owner Steve Malik echoed that sentiment when he welcomed Jabeur in a statement of his own:

“We’re honored to officially welcome Ons to our Courage family,” he said. “She is a terrific fit for our organization as a world-class athlete, a visionary, and a true believer in the value and power of women’s soccer. Ons has proven to be a very successful businesswoman and her faith and trust in us is not something we take lightly. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership for years to come.”

To Africa and Beyond

For Ons Jabeur, investing in an NWSL club is all about expanding opportunities for athletes of all kinds. Born in Tunisia, she is the highest-ranked and most accomplished African and Arab player in WTA and ATP history. As a Lotto athlete, Jabeur recognizes that her growing influence in the tennis space has led to commercial opportunities, but acknowledges that she wants to use her platform to also welcome other African-born athletes to sport.

“It is all about belief,” she said. “I see the full potential of the African continent because I’ve been there. I’ve played a lot of African championships before. I know the talents and I know that sometimes you just need the push and help in order to make that happen. My dream is to see more and more Africans playing on tour.”

Of course, no one can be introduced to said players without ample coverage of them onscreen. Another goal of hers as the Courage’s newest owner is to expand the visibility of female athletes.

“I believe people are quick to judge a woman’s sport without even watching,” she told Boardroom. “That’s one thing that I have an issue with because some people will tell me, ‘Women’s tennis suck.’ Then I’ll say, ‘Well, did you watch the match? If not, how would you know?’ So that’s something I’m really trying to change. Marketing and social media is a part of that. The more people know about a player and their story, the more they’ll watch. I think that’s really, really important.”

Paying it forward remains at the core of Jabeur’s brand and it shows with her attitude both on the court and away from the action. As Jabeur prepares to take the court for her final Grand Slam of the year next week, the odds are in her favor to go all the way. Having made it to the Wimbledon finals in July, she lost 6-4, 6-4 to Markéta Vondroušová. Following the heartbreaking defeat, she received a message from a fellow competitor who has experienced his fair share of crushing losses. She wasn’t expecting Andy Murray, the two-time grass court champion, to reach out to her, but said his message was “really emotional.”

“I honestly remember watching his Wimbledon final and felt bad because he wasn’t playing well,” she said. “I wish at the time I could send him a message, too. I felt like I was in a similar situation and he said, ‘I believe that you could win Wimbledon more than I even believed in myself.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, I really need to win Wimbledon. If not, for me, for Andy. It’s like winning for both of us. But I really appreciate his message. I’m definitely looking forward to speaking to him when he comes to the US Open.”

Jabeur plays her first-round match on Monday against María Camila Osorio.

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today, and most recently Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University, and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.