French United Cup teammates Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet spent Christmas at 39,000 feet in their haste to get to Perth for Thursday’s start of the ATP-WTA United Cup.

The pair made sure to arrive in Western Australia in good time for the kickoff of the inaugural mixed team event, with French facing Argentina in their opening tie as they warm up for the Australian Open in January.

WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia will meet 2020 French Open semifinalist Nadia Podoroska as France and Argentina clash at the United Cup 2023 on Friday.

Garcia is coming off the best season of her career. Following a quiet first half of the 2022 season, the Frenchwoman put up an effortlessly versatile display, racking up four titles on three different surfaces.

World number four Garcia, who won the WTA Finals last month in Texas following a breakthrough US Open semi-final, will be starting a season ranked inside the top 10 for only the second time in her career.

She has fond memories of the Perth venue, where she played on the 2019 Fed Cup title-winning squad which defeated Australia in the final.

Garcia said that reaching the final four at the US Open in September -- losing in straight sets to Tunisian Ons Jabeur -- was a career breakthrough.

“It gave me a lot of confidence that I’d not had before. But the dream remains to win a Grand Slam. “There are still another few steps to go, but maybe it is possible now.”