“Sport kept me focused on my mental discipline.”
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I was born on November 03, 1989 in California, San Francisco and raised in Kuwait. My mother encouraged me to play tennis from the age of 9 and I soon got into the national team for the under 12s. I currently hold the no. 1 spot in national rankings.
Tell us about your education.
High school: The British School of Kuwait.
University: The American University of Kuwait – Bachelor of Marketing.
Tell us about your career journey.
I started playing tennis when I was 9 years old. When I was about 14, it really hit me that I could do this professionally. However, in Kuwait the support for women in sports limits us to reach our goals. To play tennis professionally, players need 25 hours of tennis and fitness training a week, and players should spend the weekend competing in tournaments. In Kuwait, we are lacking this type of training. Therefore, I joined a tennis academy in Florida, Tampa to get a higher level of preparation to develop my skills.
How do you manage your time? Describe your average day.
A usual day for me is tennis training at the Kuwait Tennis Federation located in Mushrif. I usually train from 5-6.30am and end the session with sport specific fitness training. I try to do that in the evenings also. Other than tennis, I hang out with friends, family and enjoy coaching tennis part time.
What is your biggest strength?
Mental strength is a huge aspect of my game and also my serve.
Do you have any weaknesses?
My spending habit. I am working hard to improve!
Have you made any mistakes that have made you stronger?
I try to get a lot of practice in to avoid mistakes. I train on playing singles or doubles, depending on the tournament I am preparing for. I avoid the risk of getting sick by eating healthier foods during the preparation period. I try to prevent tennis injuries by maintaining strength and endurance training prior to extensive tennis and always maintain prevention exercises.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during your career?
I train with a private coach almost every day. However, as a female athlete in Kuwait I cannot devote myself full time to the extensive training required. Instead, I have to work full-time to fund my living and training cost which is a big challenge and somehow limits my maximum potential.
Staying fit is also a challenge. I try to change my exercise routine and with the help of technology, it has really helped me perform better and longer. It’s amazing to see many athletes in different sports playing harder and performing stronger at an older age, such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
How do you stay motivated during challenging times?
In general, I think sport benefits people in many different ways especially on how to handle challenging times. For me, sport kept me focused on my mental discipline. In addition, sport helped in viewing myself more positively as it improved my mental clarity. Most importantly, I believe being part of the national team has taught me to be a leader, whether vocally, or by example.
What do you do to relax?
Shower or take a nap.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
I have participated and won medals in ITF junior, Arab countries tournament, Islamic countries, West Asia, Asian Olympics, Gulf countries, and local tournaments. I’ve always wanted to play professionally, that was always my dream. Being able to represent my country all over the world has been an indescribable feeling.
What is your biggest fear?
Bicycles and the colour red.
What is your favourite quote?
Babe Ruth — ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.’
Name one item in life you can’t do without.
My phone. It’s my mobile office.
Best advice you have ever taken?
Play tennis because you love the game, not because you love the limelight.
Share three books on your nightstand.
I like autobiographies but don’t have a top three.
In your opinion, what are the three keys to success?
I always tell younger players to have fun with the game. Most importantly, always love the game, it will make working towards your dreams that much more exciting. Always work hard and believe in yourself. That’s what it takes.
What is next for you? What would you still like to achieve?
To keep improving and working as hard as I can every day and really give it my all. One big goal for me is to end the year participating in a few more WTA tournaments and keep moving forward. However, in Kuwait sports are not considered commercially attractive so I find it very hard to get sponsors. If the support was there, it would create influential athletes who would become strong role models for younger generations.
What advice would you give to young women starting out in their career?
I can tell them so many things. I think what’s most important for young women is that they get their education and have fun while achieving their athletic goals. Always work devotedly every day in becoming that player or athlete you want to become.
How does it feel to be a CP Woman of Substance?
Thank you for including me in your magazine, it’s such an honor.
Your message for the team at CP magazine:
It’s an amazing magazine; modern, up-to-date and very stylish. The pictures make a big impact and are very well edited. I’m very happy to be part of it.