Supermodel thin, tottering on vertiginous heels in Dior couture, it’s difficult to picture this delicate wisp of a woman as the aggressive Wimbledon Singles champion of 2013. But losing 30 kg in a year, doesn’t even begin to outline the spectacle of epaulettes the tennis star carries so gracefully. Marion,Supermodel thin, tottering on vertiginous heels in Dior couture, it’s difficult to picture this delicate wisp of a woman as the aggressive Wimbledon Singles champion of 2013. But losing 30 kg in a year, doesn’t even begin to outline the spectacle of epaulettes the tennis star carries so gracefully. Marion Bartoli, winner of the 2013 Wimbledon, was in Delhi for a whirlwind trip to promote the French Open as Ambassador of Rendez-Vous a Roland-Garros. Committed to the development of clay courts in India, Bartoli, now a jewellery and apparel designer, shared with us her love for India, Indian jewellery and her most intimate and inspired wanderings across the globe.Marion Bartoli at the Imperial, New Delhi (Picture courtesy: Rajwant Rawat)FIRST OVERSEAS TRIP, JAPANJapan was my first overseas trip when I was 15 years old. My father travelled a lot when he was younger and, his travels took him to India, to Jaipur and Kashmir and then on to Afghanistan. He also travelled to Japan quite often and always promised that he would take me to Tokyo some day. So, if Tokyo fascinated me, the gardens of Kyoto, with the magnificent cherry blossoms, were another exquisite memory. In fact, my entire jewellery collection is inspired by the smorgasboard of colours of the cherry blossoms and the gardens of Kyoto. Even as a country, Japan is so inspiring with people who are as dedicated as they are elegant; everything about them is so meticulous, the way they dress, walk, talk, behave and even in the way they maintain their gardens. Just like the bonsais, tiny and yet so perfect.advertisementMY ROOTS, CORSICACorsica is my home but I left it when I was only a year old. So every time I go back, it’s like a new journey to old roots; a fresh discovery. Corsica is like a dream, an island surrounded by the cerulean magic of the Mediterranean, cool, yet cut off from the madness of the world. My roots, background and the Mediterranean blue are a recurrent theme in my fashion aesthetic, in the clothes that I design for Fila. Going back to Corsica is magical: gorgeous sunsets on the beach, barbeques with my friends and perfect weather. I make sure I go back there to get rejuvenated whenever I get the chance.Bartoli with a friend on a beach in Corsica. Picture courtesy: India Today SpiceTURNING POINT, NEW YORKNew York is very special because not only did I win the US Open junior title there in 2001, but also because I was supposed to be in the Twin Towers on 9/11. I had just won the US Open the day before, and I was supposed to take the flight back the next day but decided to discover a little of New York first since it was my first time there. We were walking around in Times Square with everything sparkly and shiny around me when my father suggested we visit the Twin Towers since it was a very touristy place. I told him that I didn’t want to go indoors and preferred to stay outdoors so we went and had pizzas at Planet Hollywood instead. In fact, we were just walking around and shopping when it happened. And my heart just stopped because I was looking up and thinking that this can’t be real; that could have been me. So every time I come back to New York, it reminds me of the fact that I am living a new life. Again, I love museums, which makes New York an ideal place. Whenever I am there I go to the MOMA, The Met and the Guggenheim. New York is like a breath of fresh air; life affirming. It can never be one of those places that you simply breeze in and breeze out of without being affected by it. It is also a constant reminder that it is so wonderful to be alive.COMING OF AGE, MEXICOThis was a very special time because it was the first time that I spent Christmas and New Year’s eve away from my family in Mexico city. It was so different, especially if you’re used to Christmas in Europe with snow and Christmas trees. I will always remember it as the year Robbie Williams released this song which was on playing on a loop on the TV constantly. Imagine a Christmas with no snow, at an altitude 2000 mt, which made breathing difficult. The Mexican people made up for it with their warmth and graciousness though. I met a family there that treated me like their daughter and everytime I go back there to Monterrey or Mexico City, it always reminds me of the time when I started travelling extensively for my tennis.advertisementOn a trip to Capri in Italy. Picture courtesy: India Today SpiceTOP HOLIDAY SPOT, SOMMIERES, FRANCEAnd the final place is our family’s favourite vacation spot in the South of France called Sommieres. childhood vacations hold many memories, but the most vivid for me were the delicious street smells of doughnuts that my brother and I would keep eating. They’re called chichi fregi (a popular street snack that resembles a small fluted fritter made from yeast dough, deep-fried and rolled in sugar). It is thick, fat and full of sugar; everything that I am not eating now, but it is filled with childhood tastes and the most innocent memories; of family, of food, and sheer indulgence.Top favouritesIdea of a luxury holidayThat is an the idea that has evolved with age, so now I would say a yoga retreat. Something peaceful, ecological, back-tonature nature with no phones, emails or connectivity of any kind. My work involves a lot of travel and can be stressful, so, a vacation is about going back to something really simple. There are some beautiful places in France where you can stay with a family in a small cottage, chateau or castle, and forage your own fruits and vegetables and cook it. Everything is organic and I love it. My favourite spa is the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa in Bordeaux , where you can wake up to the noises of the animals, and ride and swim in natural waters. My idea of luxury does not involve a five star experience; however beautiful, there is nothing memorable about a hotel nestled in the chaos of a buzzing city. Luxury clearly means different things to different people.Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux. Picture courtesy: India Today SpiceDream vacationPatagonia in South America, because it’s open, beautiful, bountiful with nature’s finest. Also, I’ve never been there, and whenever I see pictures of it, just makes me believe in paradise on earth.Top adventure sportI love to jet ski and water ski. At the end of this year, I am going to be part of a charity event with Richard and Sam Branson called Strive that inspires people to make their mind and body so strong so as to achieve anything.For Strive 2014 we did this extreme journey using only human strength and endurance. We travelled from London to Switzerland and ran three marathons in a row, that is, 120 km in three days, then we rowed across the English Channel to France and then we cycled from the north of France to Switzerland, about 1400 km, in 9 days, and then finally hiked to the top of the Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland. This year, we are going to start from Matterhorn, and go all the way down to Italy with a core team of 10 athletes.Strive Charity challenge for Virgin. Picture courtesy: India Today SpiceMemorable adventure holidayMy hike up to Machu Pichhu in Peru in 1998, when I was 14 years old, with my father. It was really special because when we arrived there, I remember we slept under the stars. The hike was tough, but when you get to that altitude, and you see the open skies doted with those spectacular stars, it all seems worth it.advertisementTop shopping destinationI love markets; in France, as a child, I remember going to village markets with my mother either on Wednesdays or Saturdays to buy fruits and vegetables. which were fresh and delicious. In France, it is almost a cultural tradition to shop at village markets and the experience is special. Now, when I come to India, I go to the jewellery market in Jaipur to source stones for my jewellery line. In the fabulous fabric markets of London and Italy, I source fabric for my Fila collection. And, of course, my endless fascination of the Morocco spice markets, especially Casablanca, ensures I am there often enough to buy the finest spices.Foodie havenTravel and food are closely linked. If you like colourful and spicy, I would recommend India, for elegantly presented food, Japan is the choice and if you want to mix it all up, head to any part of France.Magnolia Bakery, New York. Picture courtesy: India Today SpiceFavourite restaurant/sJoel Robuchon in Paris, which is where I celebrated my win at Wimbledon in 2013. The head chef there made this beautiful sole especially for me which was absolutely delicious Also, at the Hotel Costes in Paris, they do the best sole in the world. I know Kim Kardashian goes there for the cheescake but I go there for the fish. Again, Magnolia Bakery in New York has the best desserts, the New York cheescake is out of this world as is the red velevet cupcake. I head here for my sugar fix when in New York.