Angella Okutoyi believes that her girls’ double title at Wimbledon can inspire a country after she became the first person from Kenya to win a Grand Slam.
The 18-year-old and Dutch partner Rose Marie Nijkmamp beat Canadians Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko 3-6 6-4 11-9 to seal the crown.
Their triumph came as a huge surprise as they were unseeded and, quite remarkably, Okutoyi had never played on grass before last week when she lost in the opening round of the girls’ singles.
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"It's great for me to be the first Kenyan to win a Grand Slam and to reach a final in a Grand Slam," Okutoyi told BBC Sport Africa.
"I'm now able to inspire most players from Kenya and Africa. I'm able to put a belief in them that they can also achieve it.
"It doesn't matter the background you come from or where you've been, it's just the belief and the dream that you can achieve it. Now I believe that we'll have more Kenyans here for sure.
"This is my first time in Wimbledon and now I'm starting to love grass.
"It doesn't matter about the surface - just the belief you have in yourself, you can play in any surface. So yeah, I'm happy to play on grass for sure."
Okutoyi hopes that her success can help boost the popularity of the sport in her native country.
"We don't have much recognition of players from Kenya. In Kenya, they focus more on athletics, not in tennis, generally,” she said.
"But now that I've been able to win this, most people will now recognise that players from Kenya will see we can do this. And that's what I've always wanted to do for my country.
"I have a philosophy and it is that a negative mind will never give you a positive life - that's all I usually say when I want to inspire the young kids. They just have to believe in themselves more than anything else."
On what was a day of firsts at Wimbledon, with Elena Rybakina becoming the first Kazakh in tennis history to win a major, Okytoyi was particularly impressed by beaten finalist Ons Jabeur.
Jabeur became the first Arab player and first African woman in the open era to reach a Grand Slam final.
"She's an inspiration to Africa, to the Arab world and to Tunisia," said Okutoyi.
"Usually when I warm up, I see her warming up and also practicing and seeing what she does really motivated me to do good.
"Even though I don't know her that much, I know she has a good personality even from the matches I see when someone is injured she's there to help.
"She has a great personality and has inspired a lot of people and I hope to be like her one day."
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Watch the Wimbledon men's singles final live on Eurosport and discovery+ on July 10.
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