"The year 2021 is full of successes and is really important in my tennis career. I fulfilled lots of dreams throughout the year, but I will work harder to achieve more in the future," Sherif told Ahram Online.
One of the main highlights of Sherif's year has been winning the Liqui Moly Open -- a 125k series level of professional women's tennis tournaments -- in Germany's Karlsruhe in September.
Sherif beat No.4 seed Martina Trevisan of Italy 6-3, 6-2 in the final to claim a career-best title. She also overcame German Sina Herrmann in the round of 32, Polish Katarzyna Kawan in the round of 16, Slovakian Rebecca Sramkova in the quarters and Romanian Jaqueline Cristian in the semis.
"I have lots of precious moments and events … but the closest achievement to my heart in 2021 is winning this WTA (Women's Tennis Association) tournament. It makes me feel that all the effort and hard work really pay off," she said.
Grand slam milestone
Sherif made history for Egypt with a grand slam milestone in February after becoming the first Egyptian woman to win a main draw match at a major tournament.
At the Australian Open, she defeated France's Chloe Paquet 7-5, 7-5, which also marked the first Egyptian grand slam victory in either the men or women's singles since iconic player Ismail El Shafei reached the fourth round at the US Open in 1974.
Sherif lost her second-round match against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan 6-3, 6-7, 3-6 despite claiming an early lead.
She also qualified for her first ever U.S Open as a lucky loser but lost 6-4, 1-6, 1-6 to Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina in the first round in late August.
"I participated in lot of grand slams tournaments in the past years. This year, I competed in the four grand slams. When I look back at the memorable matches at the clay-court of the grand slam tournaments, it makes me feel delighted to see what I have reached today," Sherif added.
Sherif also became the first Egyptian female tennis player to qualify for the Olympic Games but bid an early farewell after losing the first-round match to Sweden's Rebecca Peterson (5-7, 6-7) in the women's singles.
She was unlucky to lose in three finals in 2021, including two at ITF W60 level.
Sherif fell against Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinia in France's Montpellier in July and to Dutch Arantxa Rus in Spain's San Bartolomé de Tirajana in August.
She had also become the first Egyptian to reach a WTA final at the Winners Open in Romania's Cluj-Napoca, where she lost to German Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-1 in August.
Russian Natela Dzalamidze and Slovenian Kaja Juvan captured the doubles title after beating Sherif and her polish teammate Katarzyna Piter 6-3, 6-4 in the final.
Sherif is currently 63rd in the WTA ranking. Her career-high ranking was no.61 in singles and no.141 in doubles.
"I have broken into the WTA top 100 for the first time in Egypt's history. Finally, I was nominated by WTA for the '2021 WTA Newcomer of the Year' prize," she said.
Sherif has been a source of inspiration for youngsters, who can now hope to follow in her footsteps.
"It is special feeling and a big responsibility too. It makes me feel happy and drives me to work harder to reach my goals and give young players hope and belief that they can reach whatever they want. They just have to work for it," she commented.
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