Former Wimbledon champion Bartoli to open tennis academy for Emirati players in Dubai - GulfToday

Former Wimbledon champion Bartoli to open tennis academy for Emirati players in Dubai


Marion Bartoli with Saeed Hareb, Nasser Aman Al Rahma and Raja Rabia at the Dubai Sports Council office on Thursday. WAM

Marion Bartoli, the former French tennis star and 2013 Wimbledon champion, is planning to open a tennis academy here in Dubai with the aim of discovering and nurturing future Emirati champions.

The 36-year-old Frenchwoman, who announced her retirement from tennis in 2013, just over a month after her sensational triumph at Wimbledon, revealed her plans during her visit to Dubai Sports Council, where she was received by Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, Assistant Secretary General of the Council.

Bartoli, who had reached the finals at Wimbledon in 2007 as well but lost to Venus Williams, was accompanied by her husband Yahya Boumediene, a Belgian professional football player, and Raja Rabia, the Consul General of France to Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

Welcoming the group and appreciating Bartoli’s desire to launch projects in Dubai, Hareb said Dubai Sports Council is always ready to support projects and initiatives that enrich and enhance Dubai’s burgeoning sports sector.

He also took the visiting trio on a tour of the Council’s headquarters, and briefed them on the role Dubai Sports Council plays in promoting sports and physical activity among the different segments of Dubai’s diverse community, and in encouraging and attracting investments from the private sector and individuals.

Thanking Hareb, Bartoli – who cruised to the 2013 Wimbledon title without dropping a set, defeating Germany’s Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 in the final – revealed she has been a Dubai resident since the end of 2013, moving to the Emirate weeks after calling time on her playing career, which saw her win eight singles titles in 14 seasons on the WTA Tour, reach a high of No7 in the rankings and win more than $11 million in prize money.

"I absolutely love this place and will never think about living elsewhere in the world," said Bartoli. "I recommend to everyone to come here and discover this beautiful city.

"I love Dubai because it is a very safe place and it has beautiful weather all year long. I just love to sit on the beach and think about my life and what I want to do."

Speaking about her plans to open a tennis academy in Dubai, she added: "My new project is about opening a tennis academy here in Dubai for local Emirati tennis player to become a champion and one day have the chance to play in Wimbledon and elsewhere, and, of course, for all other kids, especially for French kids who are here in Dubai."


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