Over the weekend, Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur made history after she became the first Arab-Muslim to reach the coveted Wimbledon finals.
The 27-year-old left everything out on the grass court against Kazakistan representative, Elena Rybakina, but unfortunately, just fell short of the victory. Rybakina, who also made history after becoming the youngest player to win the singles tournament since Petra Kvitova in 2011, claimed the accolade 3-6-6 to 2-6-2.
Despite being runner up though, Jabeur had a huge impact on the game, not just on the court, but outside of it too. Her lively personality during press events as well as her on-court quirks brought about some extra excitement to an already-electric atmosphere at Wimbledon this year. And of course, we’re not going to forget about her social impact; not only is she the first Arab-Muslim to ever make it to the final, but she also used her speech as an opportunity to wish Muslims all around the world ‘Eid Mubarak’ adding that it was important to do so.
“I just want to wish Eid Mubarak to all Muslims around the world, it’s very important”, she said to the cheering Wimbledon crowd.
A moment as big as that one is rare in British sports, especially on such a global platform but to hear such a big crowd cheering at the mention of Eid was almost exhilarating… A bit dramatic but it was pretty cool, that’s for sure.
The clip has now gone viral on Twitter, and what perfect timing to do so.
“A Muslim Woman thriving and breaking stereotypes. I love to see it,” wrote one user.
“Congratulations @Ons_Jabeur – thank you for leading by example in more ways than one,” wrote another.
During her speech, Jabeur took the time to recognise her opponent’s hard work, saying: “First of all I want to congratulate Elena and her team. Great job and she deserved this, and hopefully next time it will be mine. I mean Elena stole my title but it’s okay,” she joked, while speaking to Sue Barker. “I love this tournament so much and I feel really sad but it’s tennis, there’s only one winner.”
She also took the time to delve into what this achievement means for upcoming stars in the sport as well as young Muslims in her home country.
“I’m trying to inspire many generations from my country. I hope they are listening.”
On Twitter, she gave a special thanks to her loved ones, as well as her fans:
“What a ride! Thank you to everyone who supported me since day 1 of this journey: my parents, my husband, my coach and my team. Without you, this would not have been possible at all. I love you all so much #TeamOJ.”
So what’s next for the tennis star?
Well, according to one of her latest Instagram posts, she’s ‘signing off for now’ but hopefully not for too long as the U.S Open is just a few weeks away. We can’t wait to see her back in action!
Congratulations to Ons Jabeur! We hope she continues inspiring the next generation of tennis stars and who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to see more Muslim role models out on the court very soon.