Mohamed Safwat becomes first Egyptian to play Grand Slam in 22 years
The 27-year-old knew that he will be replacing Serbian star Viktor Troicki only one hour before the match after Troicki suffered a back injury that forced him to withdraw from the tournament opener against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
“I found out I would play at 10:00, like one hour before the match,” Safwat told BBC. “They told me, Do you know the news? They said I might go on court at 11:00. I said, okay.”
The last Egyptian who played a Grand Slam was Tamer El Sawy at the 1996 US Open. Since then, no Egyptian managed to reach what Safwat achieved on Sunday.
The Austria-based player however failed to defeat Wimbledon semi-finalists Dimitrov, losing 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-1) to the fourth seed on the famous Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I never thought I would have a chance to play against such a good player on Chatrier,” he added. “I had always seen it on television but never managed to have that experience, so it was enjoyable.”
Safwat explained that although not a lot of people in his home country have knowledge about tennis, he considered what happened on Sunday as a milestone in his career.
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