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    The Unlikely Friendship Between Tennis Star Jelena Ostapenko and Rapper Lil Wayne

    Few may know that an unlikely friendship has been realized between Latvian tennis star Jelena Ostapenko and legendary rapper Lil Wayne. Just going by the pairing of these two, it rocked the fans and the media, sandwiching sport and music in such a fantastic and unexpected way.

    It all started with a mutual love of music and tennis. Jelena Ostapenko, so full of strength in her game, ended up at a Drake concert, feeling quite excited to watch his performance. Much to her surprise, Lil Wayne appeared, and she could hardly stand the voltage in his performance. In conversation with Tennis Channel, Ostapenko became very excited as she told them how much more—actually—she loved this guest performance by Lil Wayne compared to Drake’s.

    “I think it was nice, but honestly, the part where it was Lil Wayne—I liked way better,” Ostapenko shared with the Tennis Channel. “I felt like his vibe and the music were so nice. And when it was Drake, I was standing, and I did not dance much. But when Lil Wayne came out, I danced to every song.”

    The magic of that moment could have been lost if not for Lil Wayne himself, who decided to re-post the video clip onto his own Instagram, captioning it with a touching message: “Thanks for da luv.” It did catch fire. From tennis fans to hip-hop enthusiasts, people took notice of the post. But it was way more than that—it marked the beginning of an improbable friendship.

    Ostapenko, fresh from her win over Ajla Tomljanovic in the Wimbledon first round, was ecstatic.

    “It was crazy,” she said to the Tennis Channel. “He has like 18 or 19 million followers on Instagram, and when I saw this for the first time, I was like, ‘Wow, he saw it, and he’s aware of it.’ It’s unbelievable.”

    She came to describe the surreal moment when Lil Wayne sent her a personal message.

    “He also sent me a message saying that he’s my big fan. So for me, that was like…I was staring at my phone. I stopped, and I was staring at my phone for like five minutes. I couldn’t believe Lil Wayne texted me. I mean, it’s fantastic.

    Ostapenko didn’t hesitate to invite Wayne to watch her play live.

    “I would love to see him in my box, maybe when I’m playing in the US Open, or when I’m in the U.S., you know. I would love to see him watching me play, of course!” she exclaimed.

    Lil Wayne has attended most of the significant tennis events, including US Open matches. He has become almost a habitual supporter of various players and even once described tennis legend Andre Agassi as being, to him, like a “pop star” when he was growing up.

    When Lil Wayne was spotted cheering from the player’s box at the US Open, that was proof that they were getting closer. It was both inspiring and exciting for Ostapenko, who made time to support her; his presence was highly valued with encouraged medical conditions visualized on her, boosting her confidence on the court.

    Jelena Ostapenko Lil Wayne friendship timeline
    via-getty images

    Their respect for each other stems from their mutual interests in their fields. Ostapenko is respectful because she likes listening to Lil Wayne’s music, especially before her tennis games, as it gets her pumped and energized. For his part, Lil Wayne respected the same quality in Ostapenko: “You gotta be tough to play tennis like that.” Lil Wayne said that even he could learn  things from Ostapenko about how much hard work and dedication it takes to reach that level of competition.

    The rise of Jelena Ostapenko in the tennis world has been sensational. Born on 8 June 1997 in Riga, Latvia, she was first introduced to tennis as a five-year-old girl. Her father, a former Ukrainian footballer, and her mother, who came from Latvia and Russia to be a tennis coach, developed her athletic potential. Enough for motivation came when she emulated Serena Williams during her young age, inspired by the successive career of the legendary player.

    Jelena Ostapenko Lil Wayne collaboration rumors
    via-SARAH STIERAFP

    2017 became a breakthrough year for Ostapenko: she won the French Open and became the first holder of the title of this prestigious tournament from Latvia. Her victory was historic; she is also the first unseeded player to have captured the Open since 1933. Among her career highlights are a career-high ranking of No. 5 in singles and No. 7 in doubles, having grabbed a few titles on both the WTA Tour and the ITF Women’s Circuit.

    However, Ostapenko’s love of Lil Wayne becomes sensible to anyone who gets past the headlines. Their friendship speaks volumes regarding the ability of shared interests that bind people in different worlds together. It further spotlights creativity and gives a firm assurance to provide precisely what the fanbase has requested.

    For Ostapenko, this friendship means so much more than a far-fetched novelty. It’s an inspiration and a reminder that music and sport can bring people together across borders. Lil Wayne still gets her fired up with his hard-core rhymes and endless energy on stage; in return, he became a gigantic cheerleader for her on-court success.

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