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Wimbledon Welcomes First Arab Female Umpire

Aseel Shaheen assumed wearing the veil would stand in her way but, thankfully, she was wrong...

Kuwaiti Aseel Shaheen has become the first Arab female umpire to officiate a top tournament, expressing in an interview with Sports360 how happy and relieved she was having assumed that wearing the veil would be an obstacle. “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...I was worried that they wouldn’t accept me because I wear a hijab but on the contrary, they really accepted me.”

Shaheen explained that though the hijab is common in London, it isn't on the courts. “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.”

41-year old Shaheen completed her officiating course in 2002, having offciated at the ATP and WTA events in Doha; "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."