Arab female umpire at Wimbledon feared rejection over hijab

Wimbledon’s first Arab female umpire to officiate was worried that her wearing the hijab would provoke some fans and thus caused her worry

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Wimbledon’s first Arab female umpire to officiate was worried that her hijab would anger some tennis fans.

But Aseel Shaheen’s fear proved to be futile as she overcame her lack of confidence.

"It's an indescribable feeling being here. It's something big, it's a challenge. I'm the first female from the Arab world to be an umpire at Wimbledon," she said in an interview with Sport360.

"I was worried that they wouldn’t accept me because I wear a hijab but on the contrary, they really accepted me.

"London is quite open towards hijab, but maybe it's not too common around the tennis world. But me wearing the hijab and working on court during a tennis match at Wimbledon is a sign that the world is starting to accept us more."

The 41-year old Kuwaiti umpire has been in the tennis officiating business for a while now, having taken an officiating course in 2002.

"I told them I wanted to be an international umpire, I have the qualification and I have the language skills, because I speak good English. So I went to officiating school and I became a white badge in 2011."

Shaheen also officiated at the ATP and WTA events in Doha and had her her first experience at Wimbledon qualifying last year.

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