24-year-old Mayar Sherif created history recently when she defeated France’s Chloe Paquet at the Australian Open, becoming the first Egyptian woman to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam.
Currently ranked 131 in the world and playing only her second Grand Slam, Sherif beat the 187-seeded Paquet 7-5 7-5 in Melbourne in her first round match. She now faces Kaja Juvan from Slovenia in her second round match.
“It means a lot because finally this is a barrier that I had to pass, a mental barrier,” said Sherif, after winning the draw.
“With the conditions that are here, it was very, very tough to adapt to it, especially to adapt my game, it took us a while.
“The courts are faster, the heat, everything happens so fast, it’s very tough to control the ball. But very, very happy with my accomplishment and I’m going for more.”
Sherif made her Grand Slam debut last year at the French Open. However, she was defeated in the first round by Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic in three sets.
After winning her match, she thanked her supporters from her home country and in Australia for their encouragement.
“I feel very supported from the Egyptian people, from my partners, my sponsors,” she said. “It’s been great, and honestly it’s just pushing me forward and forward because I feel that there are so many people behind me.
“Even being here in Melbourne the people were going crazy on the court today and that gave me a lot of support. I was in shock, to be honest. They were really, really happy, and that give me a lot of energy.
The last Egyptian to win a singles game at a Grand Slam was Ismail El Shafei, who reached the fourth round at the US Open in 1974.
We hope many more women will be inspired by her amazing feat and participate in such events.