Dubai Duty Free Tennis: When 8-year-old Samih met his idol

Despite being only eight years old, the Emirates International School student surprised Iga Swiatek with his maturity

by

Leslie Wilson Jr

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Samih (left), and his brother Ryan Ghandour pose for pictures with Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship mascots, Ace and Annette. — Photo by Leslie Wilson Jr
Samih (left), and his brother Ryan Ghandour pose for pictures with Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship mascots, Ace and Annette. — Photo by Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Wed 22 Feb 2023, 8:31 PM

Samih’s dream came true on Monday when he finally got to meet his idol, Iga Swiatek, the world’s No 1 women’s player.

Despite being only eight years old, the Emirates International School student surprised Swiatek with his maturity and choice of tee shirt when he got the chance to ask the Polish star a few questions during her post-match press conference at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships.

Proudly sporting a tee shirt with Polish football great Robert Lewandowski’s name emblazoned on the front, Samih asked Swiatek about what inspired her to become a tennis player, her greatest influence and what advice she had to offer little kids like him who wanted to play tennis?

Then, looking at the Lewandowski-tee shirt, Switek asked him if he wanted her to speak in Polish, to which Samih politely replied: “English would be fine.”

Swiatek revealed that Rafael Nada was her most inspirational player and advised the mop-haired youngster to be patient and surround himself with ‘good people.’

Samih listened intently, nodding in appreciation to every word.

Asked how a young kid like him was so passionate about sports, Samih said: “I was very excited to meet a worldwide celebrity like Iga. I wanted to get the opportunity to ask her some questions about herself.

“More importantly, it felt great to be a kiddy reporter speaking to the world’s most famous tennis player.

“She was very nice. It was very special.”

Samih said he particularly liked the fact that Iga said her dad introduced her to tennis and that her sister also played the game.

Later, accompanied by his four-year-old brother, Ryan Ghandour, he posed for pictures with Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship mascots, Ace and Annette.

“It was an unbelievable day,” he added.


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