Dubai Duty Free Tennis: 11-year-old gets dream opportunity to interview World No 1 Iga Swietek

Sarah Bachnakova describes the moment as 'amazing'


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Sarah Bachnakova at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. — Photo by Leslie Wilson Jr
Sarah Bachnakova at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. — Photo by Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Mon 20 Feb 2023, 2:29 PM

Little Sarah Bachnakova could stake a strong claim to not just being the youngest budding tennis journalist in the world but one of the sharpest.

The 11-year-old from South View School in Dubai served world No 1 Iga Swiatek an ace when she asked her a quick-witted question that went like this: “If you had a conversation with your younger self about your career, what would you tell yourself?”

Swiatek, who like most of the media present was probably taken aback by Sarah’s maturity, responded with an answer that will surely inspire the Slovakian youngster and live long in her memory.

“For sure I would tell myself that it's possible and that I'm actually going to do even more than I expect, that I dream about,” said Swiatek, the two-time-Grand Slam winner and last week's Qatar Open heroine.

“I think I would give myself a little bit more of the belief maybe, and inspiration. When I was younger, it was all about just tennis, school, and there wasn't much perspective.

“I always watched the WTA. I thought this is, like, totally different place,” she added.

“Maybe I would tell myself that I'm going to be at that place pretty soon.”

Sarah’s presence in at the press conference was made possible thanks to an initiative by the organisers of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to inspire, educate and empower youngsters through sport.

“This is my first time to do something like this and to be able to ask the No 1 player in the world a question was amazing,” said Sarah.

“I like trying new things and this seemed like an opportunity to have some fun.

“We have this thing going on at school called a Student Council and maybe if there is an opportunity for a newsletter, I’ll give it a try,” she added while ruling out the idea of doing sport herself.

“I’ve played a bit of tennis, and badminton in the past, but I’m not sure if I want to take it up seriously. Journalism seems a very interesting thing to do. I’m always bouncing off hobbies and sports so who knows. But yes, journalism is pretty cool.”


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