Tennis champion Elina Svitolina was in Dubai to participate in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship. Ukraine’s number 1 professional female tennis player and number 4 in the world met us a few days before winning the Dubai tournament and was in high spirits. The meeting was arranged courtesy luxury Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin. Elina is a friend of the brand and an ideal brand ambassador who shares a lot in common with the brand’s maritime heritage, having grown up in a marine town herself. Apart from tennis – her greatest passion, she enjoys wake-boarding, watching soccer and reading books. Her favorite writer is Nicholas Sparks. Her tennis idol inspirations are Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. She also admires the Klitschko brothers and Michael Jackson and is a dedicated hip hop fan and Eminem ranks on top of her list. In an exclusive interview with Luxury Arabia, she talks about her life:
A – Well I’m quite organized because I have been on tour from a young age and I have been on my own for quite a bit time. When you’re traveling you’re away from your family so you develop your organizational skills, which is rare.
Q – What do you do in your free time?
A – We don’t have much of free time as we are traveling a lot and always training, also the tennis season is among the longest in sport. It’s quite tough and demanding the whole year round, but when I’m at a tournament I try to visit new places, like for example, here in Dubai there is always so much to see and do.
Q – Have you ever thought of a city you might want to live your life?
A – Well I have just moved to London which is great and I love the buzz and feel of it and spending time there turned out to be an extremely good decision for me. I also spend a lot of time in Paris, where I have great memories because it was there that I took one of my first steps toward the big time – where I won the Roland Garros junior title – so it’s always special to go back there. For the moment I don’t really have any particular country or city where I want to spend a lot of time so I’m happy with my recent choices.
Q –When you come to Dubai, what is the first place you like visit?
A – The Fountain, which I visit every time, it looks amazing especially in the night to have dinner. To visit the desert of Dubai is also on my bucket list hopefully someday.
Q – Is there any other sport that you play other than Tennis?
A – Well I do like boxing as a workout, I really enjoy and love that sport and I love watching it too. The way they fight shows their personality. In Ukraine it’s a massive sport and former world champion Wladimir Klitschko was for many years my idol and inspired me a lot as well.
A – Well I’m extremely pleased to partner with them, because Ulysse Nardin is a brand that is inspired by the sea I was born in Odessa, which is a port city on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast and we share a maritime heritage. Hence it is a privilege to be Brand Ambassador for the brand.
Q – When you visited the Ulysse Nardin manufacture in Switzerland, what impressed you the most?
A – It was the first time I visited a place like that and I was definitely impressed by the factory and its heritage and learning at first-hand how these outstanding watches are crafted and assembled with utmost precision. It was a truly amazing experience giving me an insight into a world of perfect timekeeping that I had no idea about. To learn the amount of craftsmanship and watchmaking ingenuity that goes into making just one watch is indeed a revelation and it gave me an insight into a world I knew little about,
Q – So why Ulysse Nardin as a watch brand?
A – Well the interest was mutual actually. I have been interested in the brand and they have always been sponsors of big tennis events so they are pretty high visibility. Ulysse Nardin is also quite popular in Ukraine and Russia, so this is a collaboration that was meant to be!
Q – How many Ulysse Nardin watches do you have?
A – I have four timepieces, the most recent one was the Jade which I wore during the Australian Open and I really like the Classic collection, I have the Lady Marine Chronometer as well, so it depends on my outfit.
Q – What is in the Ulysse Nardin DNA that is close to your personality?
A – It’s pretty close because their products are related to the maritime world and I was born in Odessa, by the shores of the Black Sea, so it’s like a part of me, I always love spending time on the beaches when I have a couple of days off.