Dubai, UAE, February 19th, 2007: Russian tennis star Svetlana Kuznetsova brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of Dubai school children today when she made a special visit to the Deira International School.
The world number five presented 10-year-old Halah Ashrass, who was the winner of the Dubai Tennis Championships ‘spot the difference’ competition, with four tickets to the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open final as well as a cap and t-shirt signed by many of the top players from last year’s tournament.
“I love being back in school, it brings back some good memories,” said Kuznetsova.
“This is a great school and it’s brilliant that they have courts here.”
“I wasn’t so lucky as my school didn’t have such facilities and I spent a lot of time in between school and the court.”
“Every kid has to believe in themselves, if you believe and work hard for a dream you can get whatever you want.”
The popular competition received over 1,000 entries from school children around the region.
“Today was excellent,” said Halah. “The best part was being on stage with Svetlana, she was very nice. I’m going to take my brother and my mum and dad to the final with the tickets I won. I really hope Svetlana is in the final.”
Kuznetsova joins Justine Henin and Amelie Mauresmo at the star-studded Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open which started today.
“I love being here in Dubai,” said Kuznetsova.
“I love diamonds so when I come here I always go shopping. The city is always changing so much and I wish I could spend more time here.”
“I’ve got some great memories from Dubai and I’ve beaten some great players in previous years which gave me confidence.”
“I’m looking forward to challenging myself against Justine Henin.”
Q. So it went under or through the net?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think through or underneath, and then somehow -- I have no idea...
Q. It went through the net.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Through the net? Under the net?