The most remote place you’ve played tennis?
Hopefully it’s going to be on Richard Branson’s Necker Island. I’ve been
invited to go there to play the Pro-Am event a couple of times but I
couldn’t make it. So I’m hoping to make it this year. I’ve heard so many
great players have been there before, including Rafael Nadal and Novak
Djokovic. My friends Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantuchova, who have also
played there, have said, “It’s a dream; it’s paradise.” I’ve played tennis
with Branson a couple of times and he’s a very unique character and a pretty
decent tennis player.
Most memorable encounter on your travels?
Muhammad Ali on a trip to Orlando. Once a year adidas hosts an event there,
which various athletes, including soccer players, basketball players and
tennis players, are invited to attend. One year Muhammad Ali and his
daughter were the guests of honour. I stood right next to him and I was like
“wow”, as he’s one of my all-time heroes.
The most beautiful place you’ve been?
The Maldives, which were pretty amazing. Everybody should go there before they
disappear due to rising water levels. The water is so clear and we were able
to swim with whale sharks and dolphins and go fishing. I’m not a snorkeller
but I swim all right for a tennis player.
Aerial view of an island in the Maldives (Fotolia/AP)
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
I’m a pretty active traveller and I don’t like to sit still for too long. In
the Maldives after five or six days I was like, “I’ve got to move, I’ve got
to go somewhere,” but you can’t really go anywhere, as you’re stranded on a
desert island. I always like to explore the area, wherever I am.
Your worst travel experience?
I played an exhibition match with Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Ashley
Harkleroad in Venezuela once. But when we got there, a Mexican diplomat was
kidnapped and 150 prisoners had also apparently escaped. Security was so
strict on all floors of the hotel but we were never in direct danger. But
anything could have happened and we were not allowed to go out and explore
during that period, so that was a close call.
The seven-star Burj Al Arab in Dubai. I stayed in a duplex suite where
everything was yellow and blue, with amazing attention to detail. You only
had to tell them what you were having for breakfast on the first day and for
the rest of your stay, they’d tailor your breakfast accordingly. I love
lychees, so I picked out lychees from the fruit bowl. The following day, I
was given this huge bowl of lychees.
The Burj Al Arab in Dubai (Fotolia/AP)
Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific are amazing and these days I fly long
haul with Emirates, which is a cut above the others. I try to avoid flying
with the budget airlines. There’s a reason why cheaper airlines are cheaper.
I’d rather pay a bit more and play it safe and not have any hassle with my
luggage or tennis rackets.
Best piece of travel advice?
On a long-haul flight make sure you have a flat bed. I can’t sleep sitting
down, as my legs go all tingly. As long as I can lie down I’m happy.
What do you hate about holidays?
Delays. I had to land in Muscat once because we couldn’t land in Abu Dhabi. We
were delayed there for four or five hours until a sand storm had passed. I’m
not good at waiting.
What has travelling taught you?
It’s taught me to be a world citizen. I’ve learnt to communicate with my body
language wherever I am, so I feel confident of my social skills wherever I
am in the world.
I’ll be in London for the Wimbledon tournament. After that I’ll be playing
some team tennis in America, in Dallas, Washington, New York and Boston.
Later in the year there has been some talk about an Asian tennis league, so
if that happens I’ll be in Tokyo and Beijing.
Martina Hingis is an ambassador for Nelsons Arnicare Arnica Cooling Gel.
For information, see arnicare.co.uk.
She will be playing in the 2014 Wimbledon Championships which begins today.
Julien Macdonald’s Travelling Life
George Benson’s Travelling Life
Tony Hadley’s Travelling Life
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s Travelling Life
Mischa Barton’s Travelling Life
Alfie Boe’s Travelling Life
Ben Shephard’s Travelling Life
Alex James’s Travelling Life
Warwick Davis’s Travelling Life
Beverley Knight’s Travelling Life
Martin Clunes’s Travelling Life
Kenny Dalglish’s Travelling Life
Terry Wogan’s Travelling Life
Lorraine Kelly’s Travelling Life
Moby’s Travelling Life
Charlotte Church’s Travelling Life
Vince Cable’s Travelling Life
Wolfgang Puck’s Travelling Life
David Baddiel’s Travelling Life
John Torode’s Travelling Life
Michael O’Leary’s Travelling Life
Wayne Sleep’s Travelling Life
Fay Ripley’s Travelling Life
Amy Williams’s Travelling Life
Jack Vettriano’s Travelling Life
David Essex’s Travelling Life
Robert Vaughn’s Travelling Life
David Lloyd’s Travelling Life
Tess Daly’s Travelling Life
Ed Speleers’s Travelling Life
Monty Panesar’s Travelling Life
Martina Hingis"s Travelling Life