Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli is planning to open a tennis academy in Dubai with the aim of discovering future Emirati champions.
The 36-year-old Frenchwoman, who retired from tennis in 2013 just over a month after her sensational triumph at Wimbledon, revealed her plans during a visit to Dubai Sports Council.
Bartoli has been a Dubai resident since the end of 2013, soon after ending a career that saw her win eight singles titles in 14 seasons on the WTA Tour, reach a high of No 7 in the world rankings and winning 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, 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.”
Bartoli, who had also reached the Wimbledon final in 2007 but was beaten by Venus Williams, was accompanied by her husband Yahya Boumediene, a Belgian professional footballer, and Raja Rabia, the Consul General of France to Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
They were received by Saeed Hareb, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, and Nasser Aman Al Rahma, assistant secretary general.