Egypt’s Mayar Sherif is following in the footsteps of Ons Jabeur as an African trailblazer. The 26-year-old won her first title on Sunday in Parma, Italy, and is now the first Egyptian woman to hold a Top-50 ranking, earn a Top-10 win and claim a WTA Title.
She cites Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur as a big inspiration, naturally.
“I’m not surprised at all by what she’s doing,” Sherif told tennis journalist Reem Abulleil. “What she does really pushes me forward. I see her playing a Grand Slam final and I think, ‘It’s time for me to push myself even harder’”.
Jabeur, the first Arab woman to win a title and crack the Top-5, has done nothing but make history for Tunisia, North Africa and the Arab world over the last two seasons. The irresistable talent has reached two Grand Slam finals in 2022 and currently sits at No.2 in the WTA rankings.
Jabeur even helped facilitate the formation of the Jasmin Open, which takes place this week in Tunisia and is the country’s first ever WTA event.
A chance conversation between Ons Jabeur and IMG’s Vickie Gunnarsson in Abu Dhabi last year paved the way for the establishment of Tunisia’s first ever WTA tournament, the @Jasmin_open.
Find out more about how Jabeur helped bring tennis home.https://t.co/gCVemKEtNP
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) October 3, 2022
Sherif, like Jabeur, wants to be an inspiration for young girls in her country.
“I win a 250 tournament and I’m already thinking of what’s coming next,” she said. “She gives me this inner push; I have the motivation to follow her.”
Mayar Sherif: “I’m so happy that I broke many barriers today.”
My chat with Mayar after she became the first Egyptian to win a WTA title👇🏼https://t.co/uYQFqZ137B
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) October 2, 2022
She says she hopes her breakthrough title at Parma, where she defeated Maria Sakkar in the final, is just the start.
“I believe my tennis career is only the start of my journey. I really wish to help young girls come up and make it in the sport, because I believe it’s very, very possible,” she said. “Ons, and myself, we have given them that belief, they don’t have an excuse not to believe anymore. So to stage a WTA 250 tournament in the region, for them to watch us live and to see how we’re not too far, that’s huge, and hopefully this will impact the next generations.”