COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Saudi Arabia is entering a female team for the first time at an International Tennis Federation tournament — this week’s Asia/Oceania pre-qualifying event for the Billie Jean King Cup Juniors in Sri Lanka.
Saudi Arabia and Brunei are making their Billie Jean King Cup Juniors debuts in the tournament this week, for players 16 years and under, that will determine which teams qualify for the main junior event to be decided later this year.
“This is an amazing experience, and it is so empowering,” Areej Farah, captain of the four-player Saudi team, said in an interview for the ITF’s website. “Taking part in this event is a big step for women’s tennis in Saudi and we are all very proud to represent our country and do our best.”
Saudi Arabian player Dania Alzuhair said her team’s appearance is “groundbreaking.”
“Saudi Arabia has a goal of expanding the number of women in sports, and being a part of that just makes us feel so lucky,” Alzuhair said.
The United States won the Billie Jean Cup Juniors title for the seventh time last November in the final of the 16-team finals tournament at Antalya, Turkey, beating defending champions Czech Republic.
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