Ines Ibbou, 21, ranked 620th in the WTA, addressed a video-manifesto to the Austrian, who said that some tennis players do not deserve his money, in which he solves his problems encountered so far in his career and holds him accountable for his statements.
For nine minutes, Ines Ibbou tells her story, drawing Dominic Thiem’s attention to the difficulties she had to go through to make her place in the world of tennis. “After reading your statement, I sat down and wondered what would have been my career choice if I were you. Yes, what is it like to be Dominic Thiem? So I figured out what it would be like to have tennis coaching parents when you first got your hands on a racket when you were six.
As I grew up on the outskirts of Algiers, in a family that had nothing to do with tennis, I thought maybe it would have helped me, but I don’t blame you for that. I stopped from the exercise of imagination because in the end we can’t choose the place where we are born “, is the beginning of the story.
The biggest wish: a gift for parents
She goes on to say that she is lucky to have parents like her because they let her pursue her passion in a country where not many women end up playing tennis. “Dominic, if you only knew …” She also points out that in Algeria there are not too many pitches, not even one covered, no tournaments, no players or coaches of international level. “I don’t know what it’s like for you, but in our country if it rains for a week, we practice our lapel in the gym. We don’t know what surface we play on: if it’s slag or if it’s grass. Africa, many say … ”.
All these shortcomings did not stop her from building a career, being one of the best players at the age of 14. He won the first WTA points, winning a $ 10,000 tournament at this age. She reached the ITF hierarchy of juniors until the 23rd and many journalists called her a “miracle”. “If I were part of your world, I would probably have attracted the attention of many sponsors, and the federation would have taken care of me, but that didn’t happen.”
“I have often wondered what would have happened to my career if I were like you. What an impact it would have had on my career to have an honest budget. It would have changed my whole life! I will greatly appreciate the day when I will be able to make a gift to my parents ”-Ines Ibbou
Ines Ibbou, questions for Thiem
However, Ines switched to professionals, but was injured just as the ITF changed the rules for smaller tournaments. “Money is important when you try to come back, I felt it. Despite the difficulties, I returned to the WTA rankings. I am 21 years old and I am around the 600th place, I still hope that I can realize my dream for which I sacrificed everything “
“Dominic, I wonder what it’s like to have a coach, a physical trainer, a mental coach, and other people on staff. I am always alone, always looking for cheap tickets, with many stops, accommodation away from the bases. I sacrifice my training time to get a simple visa, I need them in almost every country. And for that I need money “.
The questions keep gathering towards the end of the confession, and the tone becomes a little harsher. “Do you alternate your hard drive with slag from one week to the next? Do you finish the tournaments with holes in your shoes, the way I do? I work hard to fulfill the hopes that people put in me when I was a junior “.
“Dominic, let me ask you what it’s like to give a gift to your parents?” What is it like to see them for more than a week a year or to celebrate your birthday with them? Yes, all these sacrifices are part of the game, but the field should decide how my career develops, not my finances. It’s totally unfair! ” -Ines Ibbou
“Dear, Dominic, unlike you, many have the same reality as me. Just a reminder: it’s not because of your money that I’ve survived so far and no one has asked you for anything. The initiative came from generous players, who showed compassion, willing to show solidarity and find solutions to make a difference. If you help the players, you also help tennis to survive ”.
“The goal of the sport is to reward the most talented, the most persevering, the most hardworking, the bravest … Maybe you want to play alone on the field. Dominic, we didn’t ask for anything, just a little respect for our sacrifice. Athletes like you make me not give up on my dreams. Please, it doesn’t hurt anything! ”