21 year old Algerian tennis player Ines Ibbou, ranked No. 620 in the world rankings, has written an open letter to World No. 3 Dominic Thiem after the Austrian said he did not want to contribute to the Player Relief Fund proposed by tennis' governing bodies.
A few days ago, Thiem said he was not in favour of donating money for the Player Relief Fund, which was planned by the ATP, WTA, ITF, and the boards of the four Grand Slams to help the lower-ranked players financially during the current tennis shutdown.
Thiem later clarified his statements saying that the he prefers to donate money to the players who are worthy and really need it and to institutions that may need help during this crisis. In her letter which she posted in the form of a video on her social media account, Ibbou writes, “Dear Dominic, after reading your last statement I was wondering what would’ve been my career and therefore my life if I was in your shoes.
Yes, what is it like to be Dominic Thiem?” Ibbou spoke about her journey and sacrifices to become a tennis player in Algeria where it is difficult for women to pursue sports as a career. "If you only knew Dominic.
But after all, even if I didn’t have parents as a coach, we can at least count on the local facilities. Oof! Did you know that in Algeria the ITF juniors are very very rare? And there are not a single ITF pro, ATP or WTA event.
There is not a single coach at the international level. There is not even a single indoor court. But don’t get me wrong. This didn’t stop me from building my own way and even be one of the best players in the world at the age of 14.
I won my first WTA points by winning a 10K at this age! Quite impressive, no? And like you, I reached the heights of the ITF juniors rankings." Ibbou continues, "If I was part of your magical world back then, I would probably have drawn the attention of many sponsors and the federation would have taken care of me.
But it didn’t happen that way. Sponsors you say? Adidas? Nike? Wilson? Prince? Head? They don’t even exist in Algeria. Apart from a few equipments and support from small local companies, I only received the minimum for covering my participation for the Slams in junior."
She also asked Thiem what it is like to have a support system, including a coach, a personal trainer, a physiotherapist and a mental coach as part of his team on the road. “Yes, all those sacrifices are part of the game but still, the court should decide the outcome of my career, not my finances.
This is totally unfair. I am dealing with it every day without complaining, constantly fighting every single day in silence. "Dear Dominic, unlike you, many share my reality. Just a reminder it’s not because of your money that we survived until now.
And nobody requested you anything. The initiative went from generous players who showed instant compassion with a classy touch. Players are eager to spread solidarity and find solutions to make a difference. Champions at all costs”.
“Dominic, this unexpected crisis is putting us through a challenging time and revealing who we truly are. Helping players is helping tennis to survive. The game is noble. The meaning of sport is to distinguish the most talented, the most persistent, the hard workers, the bravest.
Or maybe you want to play alone on the court? Dominic we did not ask anything from you. Except for a bit of respect to our sacrifice. Players like you make me hold on to my dreams. Please don’t ruin it."
My open letter to @ThiemDomi
Some other voices have to be heard also...