"The situation in the world doesn't make me happy," the tennis player said following her WTA Finals match on Wednesday. "It’s very tough seeing children and babies dying every day"
Ons Jabeur is showing her support for Palestine.
After defeating Markéta Vondroušová in straight sets (6-4, 6-3) at the WTA Finals on Wednesday in Mexico, the Tunisian tennis star said in an interview that the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has been a distraction — and that she would be donating a portion of her finals prize money to the Palestinian people.
“I am very happy with the win but I haven't been very happy lately,” she said, while holding back tears. “The situation in the world doesn't make me happy … It’s very tough seeing children and babies dying every day. It’s heartbreaking.”
After adding that she would be donating part of her prize money, she said: “I can't be happy with this win. It is not a political message, it is humanity. I want peace in this world. That’s it.”
Later in a press conference, the 29-year-old expanded on her mindset, as she eyes her next match against world No. 2 Iga Swiatek.
"I try to stay off social media as much as I can, but it's very tough," Jabeur, who was featured in the Netflix docuseries Break Point, said. "You go through videos, photos, they're horrible, horrible photos every day. It doesn't help me sleep or recover very well and the worst thing is I feel hopeless. I feel like I cannot do anything. I wish I can have a magic hand and just end all this and just peace for everybody.”
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According to figures released on Thursday by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah cited by CNN, 9,025 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, following Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks that killed more than 1,400 Israelis and resulted in more than 200 being taken hostage.
For Jabeur’s part, she said she hopes her donation helps in some small way.
"But it is frustrating, and maybe donating some money would help a little bit with what they have been going through," she said. "But I know money doesn't mean anything right now to them. So I wish freedom for everybody and really peace for everyone."
On the court in Cancun, Jabeur turned a corner in beating Vondroušová, whom she lost to this year in the Wimbledon final.
On Friday, Jabeur, the world No. 7 player, must beat Swiatek in the round-robin match to advance to the semifinals.
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