190219 aryna sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka at Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital with tournament mascots Annette and Ace Image Credit: Supplied

Before beginning her quest for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (DDFTC) title, World Number 9 Aryna Sabalenka made time to spend it with kids at the Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital, the first dedicated children’s hospital in the UAE.

Sabalenka played tennis-related games with the children along with the tournament mascots Ace and Annette, autographed tennis balls, gifted the children with DDFTC goody bags and spent time posing for selfies and getting to know the children.

“I like to be in Dubai, it’s an unbelievable city and this is my favourite tournament, and hopefully I can do well here,” she said. “This is my first experience doing something like this and I really like it, we played skittles with the children and it was a lot fun, the kids are good. It’s really important for me, I like to share everything I have with the kids, I like to laugh, smile to enjoy, I hope they will get well soon.”

The state-of-the-art medical facility was created under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.

DDFTC runs until March 2. Tickets are available online at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com and from the Stadium Box Office.