Tunisian tennis star Malek Jaziri has condemned the latest terror strike in his homeland and says he hopes the “unmanly” attack doesn’t ruin the country’s tourism industry.
Tunisia is reeling following last Friday’s beachside massacre in Sousse, which claimed 38 people’s lives, mostly Britons. Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, who has links to the Islamic State group, was shot dead by police.
“A real man doesn’t do it like that,” Malek said of Rezgui.
“Sorry for all the dead people and most importantly we need help to protect and give confidence to Tunisian people,” he added, after losing to Australian James Duckworth in the first round at Wimbledon.
“We are all the same; we are against terrorism.
“We try to fight against all that stuff but it’s not easy. It can happen anywhere. It’s happened here, it’s happened in Paris, it can happen everywhere.
Jarizi, the first Tunisian ever to crack the world’s top 100 in tennis, said his country was reliant on tourism and he implored people to come back.
“The military and all the police try to do their best to protect all people,” he said following his five-set loss to Duckworth on Tuesday.
“We never had problem with religion. We have a lot of Tunisian Jewish. We have a big synagogue and all Jews they come from the world.
“We have many Orthodox, we have a church. All religion live together and we never had problem before.”
The 31-year-old, who lost to Australian Nick Kyrgios in the third round of the Australian Open in January, admitted it had been difficult to prepare for his opener at the All England Club after being taken aback by news of the second terror attack in Tunisia this year.
Twenty-one people, mostly European tourists, perished at the Bardo National Museum in the nation’s capital of Tunis in March.
“I start (to) more (have) focus on my tennis – I’m playing a grand slam tennis – but it’s not easy when things like that happen in your country,” Jaziri said.
“You feel bad and you feel sorry for the people who was there and dead.”
Security at the All England Club has been beefed up this year, with fans, staff, players and their entourages experiencing extensive bag checks and airport-style scanners also in use.