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Ons Jabeur, Tunisian professional tennis player donates part of WTA Finals prize money to Palestine

Radiance News Service
Nov. 3, 2023: Following her first-round victory at the GNP Seguros WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico over Marketa Vondrousova, an emotional Ons Jabeur broke down in the post-match speech, referring to the situation in Palestine. She said that while she was very happy with the win, it was very tough to see babies and children dying every day.

“It’s heartbreaking, so I’ve decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians. I cannot be happy with just this win, with what is happening. I’m sorry guys, it’s supposed to be about tennis, but it’s very frustrating looking at videos every day. I’m sorry – it’s not a political message, it’s just humanity. I want peace in this world and that’s it,” she added.

Jabeur is the first Arab woman to make a Grand Slam final. In the post-match conference, she said, “You go through videos, photos, they’re horrible, horrible photos every day. It doesn’t help me sleep or recover very well and the worst thing is I feel hopeless. Maybe donating some money would help a little bit with what they have been going through. But I know money doesn’t mean anything right now to them. So I wish freedom for everybody and really, peace for everyone.”

Jabeur is the current Tunisian number one, and the highest-ranked African and Arab tennis player in WTA and ATP rankings history.

The 29-year-old Jabeur became one of the few professional individual sportspersons to speak out in favour of Palestine. Al Ittihad striker, former Real Madrid captain, Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema posted on X (in French): “All our prayers for the people of Gaza, once again victims of these unfair bombardments that do not even spare women and children.”

Dagestani Russian MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov has repeatedly reposted pro-Palestine Instagram posts on his story. Other Dagestani players such as Islam Makhachev and Chechnyan-Swede UFC fighter Khamzat Chimaev have also expressed their solidarity.

Professional football teams, especially those in Scotland and Ireland such as Celtic, and individual footballers, like Riyad Mahrez (Al Ahly winger), Noussair Mazrouai (Moroccan national team defender), and Hakim Ziyech (Galatasaray right-winger from Morocco).

It is also common to see vocal support for Palestine and Palestinian flags at many matches in Ireland and Scotland, due to their long association with anti-imperialist struggles, and their members’ left-wing and pro-refugee stances. Many footballers playing in Europe have also faced suspensions and backlash for their vocal support, including Youcef Atal (Algerian, playing for French club Nice) and Anwar el Ghazi (of Dutch nationality, playing for German club Mainz 05).

In the world of cricket, sporting legends such as Moeen Ali (England) and Hashim Amla (South Africa) have expressed their support, as has the Pakistan cricket team, for which they received social media backlash from right-wing supporters in India. But Indian sportspersons have mostly avoided expressing any opinion on the violence and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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