Dubai: Two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina had to travel all the way to Dubai to find out that one of the senior personnel on board the iconic QE2 hailed from her hometown of Odessa in the Ukraine.

The transatlantic liner, that was christened in 1967, was de-commissioned and bought by Dubai World in 2008. It was then relocated to Port Rashid in Bur Dubai where it now sits moored as a museum, entertainment complex, amusement park and, since April last year, a floating hotel.

Svitolina visited the liner on Monday and somehow got separated from the main group upon arrival at the port. But that proved to be a blessing in disguise as she bumped into the QE2 Chief Officer for all maritime-related functions, a fellow Ukrainian Sergii Melnykov.

The official and his daughter are big fans of the tennis star. The QE2 official further told Svitolina that he even knows her grandmother as they hail from the same town in Ukraine.

“They know my grandmother,” Svitolina said. “I was shocked because they’re from the same city. I know the city [Odessa] is not that big, but he knows my grandmother. He told me that he’s a big fan of mine. His daughter also. He also told me that the mileage on the QE2 is like going 18 times to the moon. I was shocked. It was the second shock after my grandmother.”