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TUNISIA, Nov 2, (Agencies): Ons Jabeur, the Tunisian tennis star, has made a heartfelt commitment to donate a portion of her prize money from the ongoing Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals to support Palestinians who are enduring the impact of the conflict in Gaza.
After her victory over Marketa Vondrousova in Cancun on Wednesday, Ons Jabeur became visibly emotional when speaking on the court. She expressed her happiness about the win but mentioned that her recent happiness had been dampened by the situation in the world. Jabeur is often referred to as Tunisia’s unofficial “Minister of Happiness,” and she avenged her Wimbledon final defeat to Vondrousova.
Jabeur conveyed her emotional state, saying, “The situation in the world doesn’t make me happy.” She paused, moved away from the microphone, and broke down in tears. The crowd in Cancun showed their support for her as she composed herself and addressed the situation in Gaza.
Expressing her distress, Jabeur remarked, “It’s very tough seeing children and babies dying every day. It’s heartbreaking, so I have decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians.”
The 29-year-old tennis player is known for frequently speaking out on social issues, particularly in the Middle East and North African region. She emphasized that her happiness from the victory couldn’t overshadow the ongoing global issues. She clarified that her message was not political but one of humanity, expressing her desire for peace in the world.
In the post-match press conference that followed the on-court interview, Jabeur was visibly upset. She shared her difficulties in getting sufficient sleep due to the distressing photos and videos of the Gaza conflict. She acknowledged that it was tough to stay away from social media when exposed to such distressing content daily. Jabeur expressed feelings of hopelessness and helplessness in the face of such a dire situation.
As the world’s seventh-ranked women’s singles player, Jabeur expressed the impact of witnessing the daily loss of lives, including children, women, and people, in Gaza. Her heartfelt wish is for peace to be restored and humanity to prevail.
It’s worth noting that, as of now, the conflict in Gaza has resulted in the loss of many lives, with at least 8,796 casualties, including 3,648 children and 2,290 women, due to an Israeli bombardment initiated after the Palestinian armed group Hamas carried out deadly attacks in Israel on October 7.
Ons Jabeur, being the only Arab and Muslim player to reach a women’s singles Grand Slam final, received immense support from the crowd in Cancun. She acknowledged the honor of such warmth from her supporters, even though she hails from a distant place.
However, Jabeur remained resolute in her belief that winning a tennis match pales in comparison to the tragic events unfolding in Gaza. She expressed her deep desire for peace and wished she could do more to end the suffering.
Despite acknowledging that her contribution might not make an immediate impact, Jabeur pledged to donate a portion of her prize money to Palestinians in hopes of easing their hardships. She also unveiled her plans to start her own foundation in the near future, aiming to assist people in various challenging situations. She emphasized her intention to be more than just an athlete, aspiring to be a good ambassador and a compassionate human being, particularly as her tennis career progresses, eventually coming to a close.
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