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The Obsession That Drives Mayar Sherif To Prove Doubters Wrong
Mayar Sherif was told that it was “impossible to be a good tennis player from Egypt”. But the world number 55 is determined to prove doubters wrong with every match she plays.
A History-Making Performance
In 2020, Sherif made history by becoming the first Egyptian woman to reach the first round of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. Despite losing her debut match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, she won hearts across Africa and beyond.
The performance even caught the attention of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah who praised her on Twitter for her courage and tenacity on court.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Sherif’s career trajectory has been marked by slow but steady progress towards greatness. In 2021, she became the first Egyptian woman to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament by beating France’s Chloe Paquet in straight sets at Australian Open.
A few months later, she entered the world top-100 rankings for the very first time.
A Family Affair:
My parents just love tennis. They made us watch tennis since we were really young. My older sister started when she was five – and that’s how I started, with her as well. But yeah, my parents are pretty much obsessed.”
Sherif’s tennis obsession is a family affair; her older sister Rana Sherif Ahmed is also a professional player. This explains why their parents encouraged them to pursue the sport at such a young age.
A Sacrifice For The Game:
Leaving home at just 15 years old wasn’t easy for Mayar Sherif, but it was necessary if she wanted to train in Spain under better facilities and coaches than those available back in Egypt.
“It was very difficult back then…I didn’t know much,” She admitted. “But I chose to do it for the obsession.” “I still have things that I learned coming to Spain as a 15-year-old today.”
An Unorthodox Path To Success:
“We don’t have good fitness coaches, good tennis coaches or good physios…”
Sherif’s path towards success has been unorthodox compared to other players from Europe and America who often benefit from an established system of coaching and support staff.
In contrast, Sherif had limited resources growing up in Africa which forced her to rely on familial backing instead.
We didn’t have money…We didn’t have any financial support.
But the lack of resources never deterred her love for tennis, which is why she has been able to go so far despite the odds stacked against her. With every match she plays, Sherif continues to inspire young players from Africa and beyond who dream of making it big in professional sport.