Ons Jabeur, Tunisian tennis champion

“At nine I said I wanted to win Roland-Garros, everyone laughed.” Contrary to what she said The team, in January, On Jabeur’s goal no longer makes anyone laugh. The Tunisian, who competes at the Porte d’Auteuil on Sunday 22 May against Magda Linette, is without a doubt one of the favorites at the 121st edition of the French Open.

Because behind Iga Swiatek, world number one in surfing in a series of 28 consecutive victories, Ons Jabeur is the other woman from this start to the season. Second in the Race, the latter has just climbed to 6th place in the world, her best ranking of her career.

At the age of 27, she has had a season on clay that has exceeded the expectations of a player who is not very fond of long exchanges: two finals at the WTA 500 in Charleston and the WTA 1000 in Rome and above all a victory at the WTA 1000 in Madrid . A historic success since becoming the first Arab player to win a tournament in this category, the highest after the Grand Slam

“I still can’t believe it, he wondered at a press conference, his trophy in his hand. I’ve been through all the emotions these last few days. Today I had the feeling that my heart was pounding out of my chest. I was very stressed, trying to breathe like a pregnant woman. “

The reward of linear progression. “The road is long enough”admits by franceinfo: sport Nabil Mlika, his first coach when he was only three years old and imitated his mother, an extennista.

Still 77th in the world at the end of 2019, Ons Jabeur continues to take the steps one by one thanks to its atypical and varied game. Breaking barriers in the Arab world – first winning a title on the Birmingham turf in June 2021 and first entering the world top 10 four months later. “I knew I had to win this title to finally breathe and set an example.fell after his success. Not many Tunisians or Arabs are playing, so we hope you can inspire them. “

“Sometimes you need someone to show you the way. At first, I didn’t believe much in myself because I didn’t see an Arab player on TV.”, has also mourned the native of Ksar Hellal after qualifying for the round of 16 at Wimbledon 2021. So Ons Jabeur pioneers and paves the way for future generations. Although nothing was easy for her.

Infrastructure did not always follow, contrary to its iron will and character. “She liked to hit the wall hard, it was extraordinary for her, remembers laughing his first coach at the Tennis Club Hammam Sousse, Nabil Mlika. Before telling another shocking anecdote. “When he was ten he often told his mother that he would give Roland-Garros a coffee. We joked, we didn’t take it seriously, but it shows that we’ve believed in it for a long time.”

Tunisian Ons Jabeur during her victory over Greek Maria Sakkari in the quarterfinals of the WTA 1000 in Rome, May 13, 2022. (TIZIANA FABI / AFP)

He will make his prophecy by winning the junior Roland-Garros in 2011. From that moment on, Ons Jabeur began to make a name for himself in the country. “It simply came to our notice thensays Nabil Mlika. The Tunisian Tennis Federation was trying to develop tennis, with Ons accelerating, it was easier.

His recent breakthrough has continued to democratize the yellow ball in Tunisia, a true Ons Jabeur effect. The country is passionate about it “ambassador of joy”as his first coach tells him. “Tunisia has not been doing well for ten years, we are taking advantage of what it is doing to find some joy, he continues. Even those who have never been interested in tennis are interested in it. In the cafes we watch tennis, while before we only watch football.

“When I talk about it, I have tears in my eyes. It’s a source of pride for me, for Tunisia, for the Arab world and even for Africa.”

Nabil Mlika, first coach of the On Jabeur

a franceinfo: esport

If the number six in the world gathers so much, it is thanks to its deep link to its origins. He returns as much as possible to his homeland to train or visit the youth of his former club of which he is the idol.

She also has a 100% Tunisian squad by her side: her coach Issam Jellali, a former Tunisian representative in the Davis Cup, and her physical trainer (and husband) Karim Kamoun, a former professional fencer. “I can’t be too far from Tunisia, I’m too attached to that, she pointed out The team. All staff are Tunisian. I dreamed of having a Tunisian coach, we understand each other “.

Last test of the popularity of On Jabeur in women’s tennis: the WTA announced on Monday, May 16, the appearance on the calendar of a tournament of 250 organized in Monastir, in October. A first for the country of jasmine to which the right-wing is certainly no stranger.

Would this be the perfect opportunity to present the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup? To do this, he will have to pass the quarterfinals for the first time in a Grand Slam. “This year you have the opportunity to make the biggest dream of your life come true”wants to believe Nabil Mlika. “This is my main goal to be honest, he admitted after his lost final in Rome. I have fond memories of this tournament. “

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