Meshkatolzahra Safi: I went out to find a court in Iran after watching Rafael Nadal

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Meshkatolzahra Safi: I went out to find a court in Iran after watching Rafael Nadal

Meshkatolzahra Safi revealed she stumbled upon tennis when she was 8 and watching Rafael Nadal inspired her to see if there were any tennis courts in Iran. Safi, 17, made tennis history at Melbourne Park as she became the first Iranian girl to win a match at a Grand Slam.

“In my country, if you ask which sport they like, they’ll say football. I remember the day I was watching television with my mother and we were watching Rafael Nadal, and we were so curious to see if there is any tennis court in Iran that we could go to just try,” Safi told The National.

“My family they are in love with sport, especially my father, he was a football player when he was younger and we were really curious: ‘What is tennis? Maybe I could try this?’ “When I started tennis they said I’m talented but I mean, I found out later what is ‘talented’ because when I see the players here, when I see the juniors, the pros here, I can see what is ‘talented’”.

Safi was doubted but never gave up

Those around Safi didn't really believe she would one day be playing at a Grand Slam. Not that Safi proved them wrong, she also made Iranian tennis history. “I just really want to say don’t give up on your dreams because when I started my journey, everybody in Iran was saying, ‘this is impossible, playing Grand Slams is impossible, you cannot do that’; especially to my mom.

So I didn’t say my dream to anyone anymore and I just kept pushing,” Safi said. “So just keep pushing yourself, believe in your dreams, and don’t listen to everybody who is saying these things. This is really big for me and I hope I can continue; but I continue in every tough situation in my life, I just want to continue more."