An exclusive interview with the Spanish World No. 22:
Carlota Ciganda burst onto the scene in 2012, in her debut season, winning the Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit. The Spaniard’s career has only been on the ascendancy since and, as the World No. 22 on the Rolex Rankings, she is poised to become the highest-ranked professional golfer to partake in the Hero Women’s Indian Open which commences on November 10. In a candid conversation with Karthik Swaminathan of Golf Digest India, the 27-year-old speaks about her love for sports and her aspirations, how Spain’s arguably greatest tennis player Rafael Nadal constantly inspires her, and what she thinks about India’s latest sensation, Aditi Ashok. Excerpts:
GDI: You are the highest-ranked Spanish golfer in the world…
It’s a pleasure to represent Spain wherever I go. I just love competing everywhere in the world and yes, I like to think I make all the Spanish people proud when I play.
GDI: You are a huge Rafael Nadal fan. Didn’t you ever think of taking up tennis instead of golf professionally? Tell us what inspired you to take up golf?
I love Rafa Nadal! I think he is a great role model! He fights a lot on the court and always has lots of respect for every player. I really share his values of hard work, humility, and that his never-say-die attitude! I played football, tennis and golf growing up. My dad was my biggest influence and I just love sports! I think it teaches you many things that are good for life.
GDI: Aditi Ashok won the last edition of the Hero Women’s Indian Open. What is your opinion about her game?
I have played with her a few times and I think she is a great player. She is young and it is always tough in your rookie year on tour, but she has the potential to be at the top.
GDI: How do you see the Hero Women’s Indian Open field?
It’s always nice to play in Europe and I think it’s going to be a great week in India! I am very excited to play and to give my best.
GDI: You have represented Spain in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also played an important role for Team Europe in the 2013 and 2015 Solheim Cups. What do you aim to achieve in the next couple of years?
I would love to get to the top one day. I see myself up there, but obviously it’s a slow process: work hard every day, improve little things about your game, and try to find balance in life in order to enjoy it as well! But I feel very lucky to have this life. Play in the best tour, with the best players and have this life! I am very grateful!
GDI: What needs to be done to popularise golf in a cricket-crazy country like India?
I am not sure because I don’t live there! But I think it will be important to have golf on TV. Also, make it easy for kids and juniors to have access to play, and make it fun. I think when you are young, you have other sports that can be more fun, you like running around for instance… and in that regard, golf can seem slow and boring. So, it is important to make it a fun activity.
(Read more in the November issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.)