Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Why French star Carolina Garcia admires Sania Mirza

The world number five also opens up on the places he loves to visit in Dubai

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Leslie Wilson Jr

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Carolina Garcia during her media interview in Dubai on Sunday. — Photo by Ehaab Qadeer
Carolina Garcia during her media interview in Dubai on Sunday. — Photo by Ehaab Qadeer

Published: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 5:52 PM

Carolina Garcia, who admires India's Sania Mirza for the impact she has had on tennis, loves hanging out at the JBR in Dubai when she is not hitting those ferocious groundstrokes.

She also likes eating light at Common Grounds and listening to music at the Hard Rock Café in Dubai.

But what you won’t find the world number five doing is taking in a Mall visit despite the Dubai’s reputation of being a haven for shopping.

The two-time French Open champion in women’s doubles and the owner of 11 WTA titles, Garcia is among 17 of the world’s Top 20 players who are currently competing in the 23rd edition of the Dubai Women’s Tennis Championships.

“I'm happy to be back in Dubai. It's a very nice tournament,” said the Frenchwoman who was also a member of the squad that won the Fed Cup in 2019. “It's a big one, big draw, tough match. I'm really obviously exciting to start a 1000 event.”

It doesn’t take long to discover that Garzia, who is in her 12th year on the tour, is ambitious, funny and carefree and she also has no problem letting you meet her inner self having once had to battle hard to overcome bulimia nervosa and eat normal again.

“I like to go to Common Ground Restaurant. That's my favorite spot. I also think JBR is pretty nice,” she says of Dubai’s elite promenade which is famous for its chic boutiques to world class restaurants.

“Yesterday we went to Hard Rock for coffee, a concert, and it was actually nice just to have something really outside of tennis. In Dubai you can find whatever you want. That's good.”

Garcia also showed genuine appreciation for the impact Indian superstar Sania, who will end her incredible career in Dubai this week, has had on the women’s game overall.

“I think she meant a lot. She had a very long career, starting very good in singles first, then in doubles last couple of years, did some amazing work,” commented the French player.

“She brings so much I think in tennis and in the women's sport. Being from India, she's a huge star obviously in tennis but also just a regular person.

“Most of the time when you cross Indian people, if you say you are playing tennis, they always know Sania Mirza even if they don't have a clue about tennis,” she added.

“I think there is very few people who can say they inspire just boys and girls in their country. She's definitely a huge star all around the world.”

Looking ahead to 2023 Garcia was not inclined to place any limits on how ambitious and self-effacing she can be towards what feeds her hunger.

“You have to take the confidence of a great year of tennis, playing good, proving to yourself that your game style is a game style that is working and it can bring you a lot of great things,” she says. ‘You have to take that. Then it's a totally new year.”

Garcia might not be a shopaholic, but there is one thing that she will surely put in her suitcase on her way home, and that is the gleaming Dubai Tennis Trophy.

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