Irina Falconi: “It’s been a good thing for tennis. It’s been a good thing for tennis.

World No. 1 and US Open champion Iga Swiatek speaks to CNN ahead of her first tournament in her maiden year on the tour at the $1.4 million Australian Open.

HISPANIC-AMERICAN tennis player Irina Falconi, who has won this year’s Australian Open alongside Roger Federer, could barely get excited about the Australian summer.

But when she did, as she stepped on court this week for her first match after a month away from Australia, she could hardly contain her excitement.

I was born and raised in Hawaii but I feel like my roots are here in Melbourne since I was 13 years old. And I love where I’m from and what it represents … I mean for me it represents everything. It means more than just tennis … It’s a cultural thing. It’s the home of the game, not only of tennis, but all of sports.”

From the moment Falconi was born, her parents and grandparents had told her that tennis was their dream.

And as she says, from the moment she heard her mother, Margaret, talk about the “magical” sport as they walked around Melbourne’s CBD she knew tennis would be her life.

But in the last year, a few things have changed for Falconi, including her outlook on things and her lifestyle.

“I think I’ve gotten more positive about life, more positive about my lifestyle, and it’s been a good thing for tennis,” she said. “At the beginning [when] I was working out, I was in a bad situation, a bad place mentally, and the training was not going well for me.

“But in the last year, I’ve come out of things a little bit healthier, a little bit happier and a little bit more confident in who I am.

“I’m very grateful for everything that happened,” she said. “My family are amazing … I grew up here

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