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Morocco has produced many talented athletes over the years, and in the world of tennis, three players stand out for their impressive achievements in the 1990s and 2000s: Younes El Aynaoui, Hicham Arazi, and Karim Alami.
Younes El Aynaoui
Younes El Aynaoui had a successful career that spanned over two decades. He reached his highest career ranking of world No. 14 in 2003 and won 3 ATP singles titles and 14 doubles titles.
El Aynaoui also represented Morocco in the Davis Cup for many years, leading his team to several victories. In the 1998 Davis Cup, he won all of his matches, including a victory over former world No. 1, Pete Sampras.
Younes El Aynaoui is known for his longevity in the world of professional tennis. He was one of the oldest players on the ATP circuit, continuing to compete at the highest level well into his 40s. El Aynaoui’s career spanned over two decades, during which he faced numerous injuries and setbacks but always managed to bounce back stronger.
At the 2010 Qatar ExxonMobil Open held in Doha, Qatar, Younes El Aynaoui was granted a wildcard to compete in the tournament. In the first round of the event, he faced off against Ryler DeHeart from the United States and emerged victorious with a score of 7-6, 7-6. This win made him the oldest player, at the age of 38, to secure a main tour ATP victory since Jimmy Connors achieved the same feat in 1995.
Hicham Arazi was another talented tennis player from Morocco who had a successful career in the 1990s and early 2000s. He reached his highest career ranking of world No. 22 in 2003 and won 6 ATP singles titles and 1 doubles title. His biggest achievement was winning the Casablanca Hassan II tournament in 1997.
Arazi was known for his unique playing style, which included a lot of spin and variety. He had many notable victories over top players, including Andre Agassi, Carlos Moya, and Lleyton Hewitt.
In the 2004 Davis Cup, he led Morocco to the quarterfinals, defeating former French Open champion, Juan Carlos Ferrero, in a thrilling five-set match.
Since his retirment from Tennis, Arazi has become a highly experienced Tournament Director in Marrakech, where the event has been held since 2016.
Karim Alami was the third member of this Moroccan tennis trio. He reached his highest career ranking of world No. 25 in 1998 and won 3 ATP singles titles and 2 doubles titles.
Alami was known for his powerful serve and aggressive style of play. He had many impressive victories over top players, including Boris Becker and Patrick Rafter.
In the 1998 Davis Cup, he led Morocco to a historic victory over Spain, winning both of his singles matches.
Together, these three players put Moroccan tennis on the map and inspired a new generation of tennis players in the country. They were all well-respected on the ATP Tour for their talent and sportsmanship, and they helped to bring attention to the potential for tennis in Morocco. Their success on the court and their contributions to the sport continue to be celebrated by tennis fans around the world.
Younes El Aynaoui, Hicham Arazi, and Karim Alami achieved remarkable success in the 1990s and 2000s and put Morocco on the world map of Tennis. They all reached high career rankings, won ATP titles, and represented Morocco in the Davis Cup.
Their talent and dedication to the sport helped to raise the profile of tennis in Morocco and inspire a new generation of tennis players.