Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic’s first words when she entered the heart-shaped floral arches at the Dubai Miracle Garden on Sunday afternoon were: “I feel like Alice In Wonderland.” She wasn’t far from the truth.
Looking effortlessly chic in a black and white striped shift dress, black sporty loafers and hair pulled back into a ponytail, the 27-year-old Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships player spent the afternoon strolling through the floral gardens, taking in the sights of elaborate floral displays around her.
“The collection of flowers here are so beautiful and I almost feel like a movie star,” said Ivanovic with a grin. Many of the garden’s visitors got more than their money’s worth that afternoon as they stopped by to take pictures of the tennis superstar.
But the crew wielding cameras, who were following her every move to shoot a promotional video for Dubai Duty Free Championships, will vouch that she may come across as a matinee idol, but doesn’t come with any diva-like airs. From blowing kisses to the cameras to getting her script right in just one take, Ivanovic proved to be a pro at charming everyone around her. She was such a natural in front of the cameras she even earned the distinction of being called one-take-Ana that afternoon.
“It’s peaceful and quiet here and takes me away from the hectic pace of the city and the tournament. It’s a great way to chill out and relax,” said Ivanovic, who loved the idea of posing against the Eiffel Tower cut-out at the garden and taking a peek inside a house-shaped floral structure.
“I grew up in a house with a garden filled with flowers. This activity took me back to my childhood days. And there’s something relaxing about watching flowers. Even just sitting and watching the flowers can be such a fulfilling experience,” she added. It isn’t her first time to Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but Ivanovic doesn’t come across as a jaded tourist. Last year, she spent an afternoon at the Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood in Old Dubai visiting craft stores and the spice souq.
“I remember the first time I was here in 2006 and each year I am surprised by the way this city has developed. There’s new things to see and do every year. It’s just wonderful.”