Editor's note: From Monday to Thursday this week, we will look at the road each of the eight singles players and eight doubles took to qualify for this year's WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Season at a glance
For most of her career, the only person who believed Ons Jabeur could become of the best athletes in the world was ... Ons Jabeur. This season was her vindication.
Hailing from the small country of Tunisia in Northern Africa and a region that had never produced a Top 50 player on the Hologic WTA Tour until she broke that barrier two years ago, Jabeur's underdog journey has resonated globally. Dubbed "The Minister of Happiness" in Tunisia, Jabeur's outgoing personality and on-court flair took center stage in 2022.
"The WTA Finals, it's a big thing for me," Jabeur said after the US Open. "It's like a mini Grand Slam, I call it. I always dreamed to play this one."
- First Arab or North African woman to reach a Grand Slam final
- First Arab or North African woman to rank in the Top 5, reaching a career-high No.2
- First WTA 1000 title in Madrid
- First major final at Wimbledon
- 11-1 during grass season
- Made for finals across the WTA 1000s and Slams
The season certainly didn't start on a promising note for Jabeur, who was ruled out of the Australian Open with a back injury. Once fully healed, she came on strong in the spring when the tour turned to the natural surfaces. After making her first final of 2022 in Charleston, Jabeur went on to win the biggest title of her career at the Mutua Madrid Open, defeating Jessica Pegula in the final.
"I think the highlight of my season is just being consistent," Jabeur told WTA Insider. "I didn't just have one or two tournaments, I was consistent. I was pushing myself to do better, especially with my results on clay. It's amazing, just challenging myself there and being able to do that was really, really big for me."
From there, Jabeur continued her ascension. Off the back of Madrid, she made the final in Rome and then tore through the grass season. Winning her second title of the year in Berlin and breaking through to her first major final at Wimbledon, Jabeur posted an 11-1 record on grass.
Jabeur would fall just short in that Wimbledon final to Elena Rybakina, losing in three sets, but she solidified her status as a major contender two months later. In New York, Jabeur became the first Arab or African woman to make the US Open final in the Open Era.
After back-to-back Slam finals, Jabeur rose to No.2 and secured her WTA Finals debut. Jabeur's early qualification was even more satisfying after she was nipped at the finish line last year by Anett Kontaveit's end-of-season surge.
"I've been preparing a lot for this one," Jabeur said. "Looking forward to playing in front of the fans in Texas. I've been doing a small pre-season before this tournament, so hopefully I'm ready for that."