Abdullah Shelbayh, a 20-year-old tennis sensation from Jordan, is scripting history in the sport, driven by the influence of icons like Rafael Nadal and Ons Jabeur. His journey, shaped by dedication and ambition, is poised to make a profound impact as he surges through the ranks in tennis.
Recalling a defining moment from his childhood at around eight or nine years old, Shelbayh vividly reminisces about an international junior tournament in Tunisia. A rare prospect from an Arab nation in the tennis world, he crossed paths with Ons Jabeur, the Tunisian prodigy fresh from her triumph at the Roland-Garros girls’ title.
Reflecting on Jabeur’s accomplishments, Shelbayh acknowledges her as an immense source of inspiration. Her achievements resonate deeply within him, driving not just him but aspiring talents across the Arab world. The motivation derived from her success fuels Shelbayh’s ambition to carve his legacy in the sport.
Currently, Shelbayh stands tall as a history-maker for Jordan and the Arab world within the ATP Tour. His breakthrough into the top 200 in 2023 marked a pivotal milestone, followed by a significant victory at the ATP Challenger level in October—a testament to his growing prowess and determination on the court.
A left-handed player renowned for his “crafty” style of play, Shelbayh finds guidance and influence from another distinguished figure, Rafael Nadal. Securing a scholarship in 2018, he embarked on a transformative journey to train full-time at the esteemed Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain. Supported by Jordan’s Princess Lara Faisal, Shelbayh pursued his dream of professional tennis under the mentorship of Nadal, alongside coaches Carlos Moya and Toni Nadal.
Expressing his gratitude for the unwavering support and mentorship, Shelbayh emphasizes the profound impact of this experience. From receiving invaluable advice to sharing practice sessions with Nadal, this journey has exceeded his wildest dreams, shaping his aspirations and capabilities on and off the court. Shelbayh’s journey, propelled by dedication, support, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, marks just the beginning of what promises to be an inspirational and groundbreaking career in tennis.