By Michael Mewshaw
For tennis fans who have always dreamed of attending the French Open and young players eager to compete in it, Longines, with the cooperation of the French Tennis Federation and the USTA, has announced a new venture – “Rendez-vous à Roland Garros.” In the past Longines sponsored an event for juniors in Paris that ran parallel to the official tournament. But this year that promotional event will switch to true competition at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, from April 19-22.
Matches will take place on newly laid red clay courts, providing spectators with a touch of the distinctive Roland Garros ambiance and giving players a chance to gain experience on what many consider the most demanding surface in pro tennis. Entry, by invitation only, will be restricted to top U-18 American players (both boys and girls) and the prize for winners in Florida will be a trip to Paris for a play-off against winners of similar elimination tournaments in Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea and India. Ultimately the champions will receive wild cards into the French Open junior draw in late May.
For players and fans alike, this figures to be a win-win situation. Who wouldn’t relish a chance to travel to Paris in spring? And what’s not to like about the French Open coming to south Florida for a few days?
Ad In Ad Out, Michael Mewshaw’s collected tennis articles, is now available as an e-book.