Jasmine Paolini: Tennis player with Italian, Polish, and Ghanaian roots

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Twenty-eight-year-old Jasmine Paolini is enjoying the best period of her tennis career, having recently won her biggest WTA title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and risen to a career-high ranking of No.14. It’s common knowledge that the player is Italian, but did you know that she has strong ties with Poland, and even Ghana?

Jasmine Paolini

Paolini was born in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, a picturesque town located in the heart of the Garfagnana region in Tuscany, Italy. Although she is Italian and represents Italy on the Hologic WTA Tour, her heritage is a blend of different cultures. Her father, Ugo Paolini, is Italian, while her mother, Jacqueline Gardiner, is of Ghanaian and Polish descent (more precisely, Jasmine’s grandfather is from Ghana and her grandmother is Polish, living in Lodz).

This rich heritage has contributed to Paolini’s multilingualism. She speaks Italian, English, and Polish. In a recent interview with the WTA Insider following her Dubai title run, Paolini shared an anecdote about her language skills.

After a press conference, a Polish reporter congratulated Paolini in Polish. The tennis player, appreciating the gesture, laughed and thanked her in kind. Reflecting on her upbringing, Paolini explained, “When I was young [my mother] was speaking to me in Polish. Now I can speak Polish, but I also forgot some words.”

Paolini’s linguistic journey is not without its challenges. She mentioned in the interview, “For example, Magdalena Frech is speaking to me and I am always like, ‘Please speak slow because sometimes I would like to say something in Polish and I say one word in English.’ My brain is mixed a lot.”

This fortnight at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Paolini is seeded 13th and advanced to the round of 16, where she is set to compete against the 28th seed, Anastasia Potapova.


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