Algerian tennis player Ines Ibbou illustrated the situation of lower-ranked professionals on the tour, via a letter, that was taped into moving visuals. The letter was addressed to three-time Grand Slam finalist Dominic Thiem who recently opposed donating money to the Player’s Relief Fund amid coronavirus crisis. After coming across her poignant tale of tennis, and sacrifices Ibbou makes to play WTA matches, Venus Williams gave her a shout out.
The Algerian woman had listed the challenges of playing professional tennis on the shoe-string budget. That is without sponsors, without a personal coach, physio, etc… and bearing all the expenses by herself.
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Following Ibbou’s moving letter on Instagram, Venus commented: “You are my hero.” The Algerian professional was pleased to receive the supportive gesture from the seven-time Grand Slam champion. She replied: “You always been mine too, and now you’re even more to me. Thank you so much, Venus Williams. A #Legend”
A generous act by Venus Williams
The American ace Williams is undoubtedly a triumphant tennis player. But most of the tennis world is unaware of her philanthropic side. In 2015, a lower-ranked tennis player Alexandra Dulgheru made her return to the circuit after an injury hiatus.
She was sponsor-less and did not have proper outfits to wear on the professional tennis courts. Dulgheru knew about Venus helping others like her on the tour with her clothing brand named EleVen. She immediately contacted her. And Venus gave her a ray of hope to continue to hit the ball harder on the professional track.
“She sent me a bag from Rome and then she kept doing it for the rest of the year. Her clothes are very pretty and I always showed her pictures of my matches. I like her and I respect her a lot as a player,” Dulgheru said.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ines Ibbou and many others are in the same boat of unemployment, and they are feeling helpless. However, generous players like Venus Williams can definitely make a difference in their lives. And liberate such dedicated players from the blanket of misery.
Ibbou hails from a country that doesn’t even have a single indoor tennis court. Nevertheless, her determination and will power to ace against the odds on the professional circuit remain firm.