Mayar Sherif: ‘I was crazy to become a professional tennis player’

·3-min read
Mayar Sherif Credit: Alamy
Mayar Sherif Credit: Alamy

Mayar Sherif credits a tough upbringing in Egypt with instilling in her a fighting spirit that serves her well on the WTA Tour.

Sherif earned her second career top-ten victory this week when she ousted world No 5 Caroline Garcia.

Scroll to continue with content

She has become the first woman from Egypt to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA 1000 tournament after beating Elise Mertens in the fourth round.

Sherif says that she needed to be crazy to believe she could even make it from Egypt to the WTA Tour and she has just kept backing herself to defy the odds.

“My choice,” Sherif told

“I was crazy to become a professional tennis player. Obsessed with beating people outside of Egypt. Having the belief that I could get to the top.

“Life in Egypt is different. The culture, everything, it’s tougher. You have to achieve more just to get to the court. I grew up in tough conditions, played with a lot of pressure since I was very young. That’s where I got the fighting spirit.”

Sherif said that she had been motivated to get one back over Garcia after being handed a bagel in her previous loss to the Frenchwoman.

She played an ITF event in Portugal last week and credited a run to the last four in Oeiras with helping he find her level.

“Last week helped me find a match rhythm,” Sherif said.

“Even though I was playing lower-level matches, it gave me confidence by winning. I lost the first set 6-0, but I played better after that.

“This tournament, I was ready for it. I had the mental chip, `OK, I lost the last time and I’m going to try to play with more confidence.’ I believed that I can beat her.”

Sherif needed to be resilient in her clash with Mertens as well with the Belgian responding to dropping then first set by winning the second to love.

However, Sherif said it took just one good game to get her back on track.

“I had to take my time, think that I had to be aggressive to regain my confidence,” Sherif said. “Just by winning one game, that 6-0 was gone.”

Sherif also showed excellent clay court skills and changed up the pace of play to wrong-foot Mertens.

“It was a good strategy against her because she doesn’t like the high balls — she likes the balls coming fast at her,” Sherif said.

“I know that I’m not easy to play against, especially at altitude. But I know they always think about it and they’re not comfortable. I try to take advantage of that and mix it up.”

Sherif has beaten very good players to get to the last eight, but her biggest challenge yet awaits in the form of a date with Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek keen to hit the books sooner rather than later

The article Mayar Sherif: ‘I was crazy to become a professional tennis player’ appeared first on