World No. 7 Ons Jabeur said she would donate part of her WTA Finals prize money to help Palestinians, in a tearful speech on Wednesday. The Tunisian made the pledge during an emotional on-court interview after beating Markéta Vondroušová 6-4 6-3 in Cancun, Mexico. “The situation in the world doesn’t make me happy,” Jabeur said , fighting back tears as she spoke to the crowd. “It’s very tough seeing children, babies dying every day.
It’s heartbreaking, so I have decided to donate part of my prize money to help the Palestinians.”
“I cannot be happy with just this win, with what’s happening. I’m sorry guys, it’s supposed to be about tennis, but it’s very frustrating looking at videos every day,” Jabeur added. A total of 9,025 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since Hamas’ terror attacks on October 7, according to figures released Thursday by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah drawn from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave. More than 22,000 others have been injured.
Hospitals in Gaza are also struggling to treat severely injured patients due to a lack of medical supplies and dire conditions, according to aid workers. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza follows Hamas’ surprise cross-border raids on October 7, which killed more than 1,400 people and saw more than 200 taken hostage. “It is not a political message, it’s just humanity,” said Jabeur. “That’s it. I want peace in this world. That’s it.”
Jabeur isn’t the only Arab athlete to have offered financial aid to help Palestinians.
Last month, the Egyptian Red Crescent, a charity that provides medical services and humanitarian aid, confirmed that Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mo Salah had made a donation to help its relief efforts in Gaza. In 2021, Jabeur became the first Arab woman to win a WTA title and, in 2022, she became the first Arab or North African woman to reach the semifinals and then finals of a grand slam. By winning her first group match at this year’s WTA Finals, Jabeur will receive at least $198,000 in prize money . It’s unclear how much she intends to donate.
“I try to stay off social media as much as I can, but it’s very tough,” Jabeur told reporters later in a press conference. “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.”
The win also boosted the 29-year-old’s hopes of progressing to the semifinals.
Jabeur must now beat four-time grand slam champion Iga Świątek to stand any chance of qualification to the next round. Świątek beat Coco Gauff on Wednesday to leave group qualification wide open with each woman having one more match to play. © 2023 Cable News Network. A Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All Rights Reserved. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. Credit – CNN