On a humid day in Melbourne City, Imagine Hotels & Resorts sat down with upcoming tennis star Harriet Dart. With an athletic ease and bright smile, she joined us at the Imagine Marco pool area to chat about her upcoming qualifiers at the Australian Open and what keeps her on her a-game while travelling.
After some changes in her team, the young Brit is looking at her fourth year on the international circuit, and 2020 in general, as a new year.
Her recent off-season was characterised by working on new things she hadn’t focused on before, “purely because I have been working with a new coach,” Harriet advised. “For me that has been really exciting and interesting. I also played in Brisbane last week [at the Brisbane International], which while I had a tough match, I was still happy with where I was at.”
For this year’s Australian Open, Harriet is feeling confident in her preparation. “I think going to Brisbane 6 days early helped me acclimatise, get over jet lag and get used to the conditions as much as possible.”
When travelling, is there anything specific you do to assist you?
“When I travel, I travel with those Vicks sprays and hand sanitiser because you can pick up so many bugs on a plane. I also travel with an eye mask so I can sleep well during flights… and of course a good book.”
“And do you know what?” She says giggling, “I put a face mask on too during the flight because I find my skin gets dry. People might look at me funny, but I’m not really bothered. I also wear flight socks to avoid a serious cankle situation because I do get quite swollen.”
Makes sense – I’m sure they help to keep your circulation going on long-haul flights!
With accommodation, is there anything you look for to make sure your needs are met while in training and during competition?
“For sure, where I am staying in Melbourne now at Imagine Marco is perfect. It’s self-catering so I have the option to cook and it feels so homely which I love after spending so much time in hotels where it’s just a room.”
“I like the space here, it’s beautiful with an awesome view and it’s so comfortable; I really am incredibly grateful to be here. Also, the pool is deep enough for me to stand up in as well as do laps; making it ideal in recovery. It’s just perfect for what I need prior to, during, and after my games.”
When you travel, do you ever schedule down time so you can explore the city or country you are staying in?
“I try to as much as I can but being so busy it is just exploring new restaurants mostly - which I love doing! I like to search tag locations on Instagram because you can really get a good look at what’s around.”
“If I have the time, I will go to art exhibitions or museums, as well as see tourist sites when I can.”
What are your non-negotiables when you travel? You’ve already mentioned eye masks, face masks and compression socks on your flights… Is there anything else that is an absolute must when travelling?
“Being mostly in sports wear I always make sure I pack a few items of casual clothes; like a pair of heels and a nice dress. Especially if there is a player’s party or something like that, it’s nice to get dressed up.”
Let’s chat pre-game superstitions and routines… Do you have any and if so, what are they?
“They aren’t set in stone yet, but I do wake up at least 3hrs before a match and eat well before I need to play. When I physically warm up is the same time and I won’t talk to too many people before the game. I’ve got a great team around me as well, so they make sure I do the right things.”
It's so important to have good people around you isn’t it? What do you feel were your biggest lessons in last year’s Australian Open that you can take with you into this year?
“Last year was a great learning curve for me. I played three slams, all of them main draws – one of which I was injured for. During the slams last year, I took each match one-at-a-time. I think it can be quite easy to lose sight of that and get caught up in expectations, so this year, I need to remember to take every single match as it comes.”
Now, I know you’re a fan of football and go see Arsenal games whenever you can. Can you tell me who would be your ideal player pick to join the Arsenal team?
“That is a good question, I think my ideal pick would be Harry Kane or Gareth Bale (being British I think that would be fun and they are both awesome players), but I don’t think that will be happening in the near future.”
Final question; because you’re away from home so much, what’s the first thing you do when you get home?
“See my friends and family. Not being at home that much, that’s what I miss the most, just being able to spend time with them. Especially with my grandparents; sometimes I forget that I am getting older and they’re getting older so it’s really nice to spend as much time as possible with them.”
Harriet thank you so much for your time with me today, all of the team at Imagine Hotels & Resorts wish you the best of luck and great success in your upcoming matches at the Australian Open here in Melbourne.
The team at Imagine Hotels & Resorts are looking forward to the Australian Open starting from the 20 January 2020.
We feel honoured to host the rising tennis star Harriet Dart, as well as other tennis players, their coaches and their families in the lead up to and during the tournament.
Imagine Marco is ready to welcome our guests travelling to Melbourne for the Aus Open this year! Being located in the vibrant cultural, entertainment and sports hub of Southbank in Melbourne, featuring a selection of 1 & 2 Bedroom Apartments, all complete with kitchens; make Marco your accommodation of choice in Melbourne.
Book Direct & Save >> imaginehotelsresorts.com/melbourne/marco/ or call (03) 8695 2800
WORDS: Emily Steckelbruck, Marketing Manager for Imagine Hotels & Resorts