Ons Jabeur knows how to make a big entrance. The Tunisian tennis player received high public acclaim Friday. She proudly displayed the runner-up plate she earned after finishing second at the Wimbledon ladies singles championships in London.
To celebrate with her, many Tunisians flooded the streets. A big crowd assembled under the large stand in front of the Local Theater on Avenue Bourguiba, the main road of Tunis.
"The love of Tunisians is more important than any title, Ons Jabeur says, emotional. I hope this is the beginning of many more victories. I am proud to be Tunisian."
Jabeur was swarmed by supporters, reporters and television cameras as everyone tried to get a shot of the trailblazing player. The most lucky spectators caught balls signed by the 27-year-old, nicknamed the minister of happiness.
"When she succeeds, I feel as if I did, Mongia Zaag, a teacher present in the crowd confesses. We hope that she will mark herself out again and that she will become number one. It must be said that for us she is already number one. We hope that she will be an example for Tunisian girls and boys."
Jabeur has spent much of her career breaking new ground for African and Arab tennis. She was the first African to win a WTA Tour title, and the first to win a Masters tournament when she lifted the Madrid trophy in May.
Since then she has become an inspiration. So much so that the number of members joining her club located in Tunisia’s center-east region has doubled.
Despite her lost final in Wimbledon, Jabeur is determined to become a Grand Slam champion.