Top seed Caroline Garcia proved a hit with young fans as she joined in the Free Family Weekend fun at the Domain Tennis Centre today.
The world No.19 spent time playing ANZ Tennis Hot Shots and posing for photos ahead of making her Hobart International debut.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Garcia said. “It’s my first time in Hobart. I have been to Tasmania a couple of years ago in Burnie (where she lost to Daria Gavrilova in an ITF tournament), but I’m really happy to discover this city and it is good preparation for the Australian Open.”
Garcia, who achieved a career-high ranking of No.4 last season, asked for a wildcard into the tournament after an early exit in Shenzhen in the opening week of the season. The 25-year-old decided competing in Hobart was a better option than focusing on practice in Melbourne.
“I want to play matches. Competition is what I like and what I need, so Hobart was my choice and I’m very happy the tournament gave me a wildcard,” she said.
— Hobart International (@HobartTennis) January 5, 2019
The six-time WTA singles champion will face American Sofia Kenin, the world No.52, in the first round.
“Obviously as the No.1 seed you want to go far, so that is my goal and I’ll see what I can do. But for now, I’m just focused on my first match,” Garcia said.
“With the conditions and it being the beginning of the year, every match is very complicated. It doesn’t matter who I’m going to play, I know it is going to be a good match.”
The tournament’s Free Family Weekend continues tomorrow, with free entry for all at the Domain Tennis Centre. As well as final qualifying matches, there will be family-friendly entertainment and activities.