Egyptian Mohamed Safwat made history at the ongoing Australian Open when he became the first player from his country to reach the singles main draw there since 1978. In an interview to Ahram Online, Safwat he will surely get boosted by his performance in Melbourne.
"Of course, it is a great feeling. It also gives me lots of experiences. I am sure that it will boost my game and confidence for the Olympic Games and after. Setting a new standard for Egypt and for Egyptian tennis players always gives hope.
And I think this is a new beginning for me and for the Egyptian tennis." The last Egyptian to do so was Ismail El-Shafie, who also won the men's singles tournament at Wimbledon in 1964, was the only Egyptian to make the top 40 in the Grand Prix/ATP rankings and one of only four players to beat former world number one Bjorn Borg of Sweden at Wimbledon.
Safwat says, "My matches were tough. It is the first major tournament of the year. All the players were well-prepared and motivated for start of the season. I managed to beat three tough opponents and my performance level was improving every match I play”.
After Melbourne, his ranking is expected to move into the range of 155 to 160 and he hopes to move higher in the rankings by taking part in challenger events over the next couple of weeks before heading to Dubai for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Later in the year, he will also represent Egypt in the Olympics, making him the first player from his country to do so. "It is an honour to be the first Egyptian to step a foot in the Olympics. I am focusing on playing in big tournaments with higher-level opponents to get ready for the Olympics. I hope I can deliver the level Egyptians and Egyptian players are expecting."