*On Monday, Tunisian Ons Jabeur became the first Arab woman since Selima Sfar in 2008 to win a Grand Slam main draw match. Sfar, the only Arab woman to crack the top-100, penned this open letter to describe how it feels to see someone finally start matching her past achievements.*
I’ve been asked by many how I feel about the fact that another Arab woman is on the way to achieve what I have achieved in the past and maybe surpass my own feats.
The way the question was phrased by many was actually quite funny.
The truth is, if I want to be very honest, a few years ago it would have disturbed me. Or rather it would have disturbed my ego. Today, wisdom and maturity make my perception of it totally different, beautifully different. And it feels lovely!
A legacy is a new path you opened by achieving something novel and meaningful, and I believe that something is truly meaningful only when it also serves others.
Being the first Arab woman to go through that path is certainly a source of pride, but the biggest honour is in fact to see other Arab women using it.
Ons is the first one who had the courage to do that and I’m so grateful to her.
I sacrificed a lot and dove into the scary unknown at a very young age to achieve it – it would have been sad to know that all my struggles and experiences to create this path ended without serving others.
The message is: If I did it then it is possible others can. From that perspective anything is possible. Her victories feel like mine and the ones after her will feel the same too. We are all connected in this path.
A real legacy is one that doesn’t end with you, on the contrary, it’s a path which keeps growing even after you are far gone. I believe we are here to – through our experiences – help and transfer to others the possibility of transcending us. That is a healthy way of describing evolution; new generations are here to do better and go higher.
Life is about progress. It is like a relay race, but this one goes for generations. Ons is the first one who reached out and opened her heart and hand to catch it and it’s overwhelming for me to see, it’s a connection.
It’s the start of a long and beautiful relay race – the relay being an inspiring message of belief and faith especially for Arab women. That’s why I am truly honoured and grateful for being the first to unlock that promising door. Now I can enjoy observing the ride for many beautiful generations to come.
Let the flame never stop growing!