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Selima Sfar proud to represent Arab women in Wimbledon legends event

Tunisian Selima Sfar is proud to be flying the flag for Arab women at Wimbledon as she contests the Invitation Doubles tournament for a fifth consecutive year.

Reem Abulleil 2018/07/12

Tunisian Selima Sfar is proud to be flying the flag for Arab women at Wimbledon as she contests the Invitation Doubles tournament for a fifth consecutive year.

Sfar, who is the first Arab woman to crack the top-100 and retired from professional tennis in 2011, was invited to play the Legends event for the first time in 2014. She partnered nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova on three occasions, lifting the title together in 2016, and played alongside four-time major champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 2017.

This year, Sfar has teamed up with Croatian 1997 Roland Garros winner Iva Majoli at the All England Club, and they beat Tracy Austin and Anne Keothavong in their second match on Thursday, after losing their opener to Kim Clijsters and Rennae Stubbs on Tuesday.

Sfar is one of three Tunisians to compete at Wimbledon this year, with Ons Jabeur making the second round in women’s singles, after earning a wildcard by winning the $100k Manchester title in the build-up, and Malek Jaziri falling in the first round in men’s singles.


The 41-year-old Sfar paid tribute to Wimbledon organisers for inviting her to take part in the Invitation Doubles tournament each year and is grateful to be representing Arab women at SW19.

“I have my greatest memories in this tournament, my birthday is always here, and the fact that they were the first Grand Slam who accepted me here and kept inviting me and being very nice and I think it’s very important that they thought of inviting an Arab, representing this part of the world, this region this culture. They opened the door to that and it’s amazing. For me it was very important,” Sfar told Sport360.

“They welcomed me in the Legends draw and they still do every year. The way they offered a wildcard to Ons who won a Challenger also. They say whoever wins the Challenger gets a wildcard, how many Grand Slams do that? Because when you say that you open the wildcard for anyone, any nationality, from any country and that’s also a sign of being very open-minded.”

During her professional career, Sfar, who is now a commentator for beIN Sports, played in the Wimbledon main draw four times, reaching the second round in 2001, 2002 and 2005. She made the doubles quarter-finals alongside Ekaterina Makarova in 2008, eventually losing to Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur.

“I love this event. I know everybody says that, most of the players say that Wimbledon is magical because of the tradition, because of how beautiful it is, the way they take care of players, everything is just magical there, we are so spoilt,” said Sfar.

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