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The French Open Leads The Way With Inaugural Esports Tournament

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Next month Roland Garros will be become the first major tennis event in history to host a gaming tournament.

 

The Roland-Garros eSeries is currently underway across the world. Qualifying tournaments are taking place in China, India, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Italy and Spain in the lead up to the finale. The winners from each country, which features 32 participants, will then travel to Paris to play in the finals on May 25th. It is being run by the French Tennis Federation in conjunction with BNP Paribas. The official sponsor of the tournament until at least 2021.

“The French Tennis Federation is delighted to become involved in e-sport alongside BNP Paribas, a loyal partner of the Roland Garros tournament. This initiative confirms the Parisian Grand Slam’s desire to stay at the cutting-edge of technology and operate in this rapidly-growing sector. This tournament will enable us to bring together communities of players who are passionate about tennis and about gaming,” said Stéphane Morel, Deputy Managing Director of the French Tennis Federation’s Strategy and Development Department.

Tennis World Tour is the game being used by the tournament. Created by Breakpoint and Bigben Interactive, players will play the demo version until its release date on May 22nd. In career mode, players will start at 100th in the world rankings. To rise they must compete in a series of exhibition matches and tournaments as well as training. Should they reach No.1, they will be required to defend points in a similar fashion to how it is done on the ATP and WTA tours.

It comes as no surprise that tennis is starting to embark upon the esports industry. The Market intelligence agency Newzoo has reported that the sector is set to smash the $1 billion mark by 2019 in global revenue. They have also forecasted that the total audience in esports gaming will reach 589 million users by 2020. More than double what it was in 2015 (235 million).

Outside of tennis, other sports have already capitalized on the gaming industry. Earlier this year the FIFA 18 FUT Championships in Barcelona attracted more than 100,000 live viewers online. The winner, 16-year-old Donovan ‘DhTekKz’ Hunt, took home $22,000 in prize money. The NBA, the NHL, La Liga in Spain and Germany’s Bundesliga also have their own esport tournaments.

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Matteo Berrettini is confident for the future of Italian tennis ahead of the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini looked back to his 2020 season in an interview to the Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. 

 

Berrettini reached the Australian Open second round losing to Tennys Sandgren in five sets. The Rome native player lost to Andrey Rublev in the fourth round at the US Open. He was one the five Italian players to advance to Roland Garros third round, most to reach a Grand Slam third round in Open Era since 1968.

At Masters 1000 level Berrettini reached the third round in Cincinnati and the quarter final in Rome before losing to Norwegian player Casper Ruud. 

“I struggled during 2020. I did not start my season at best. I was often injured. It was a race against time to get back into shape. When I was ready, the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic”, said Berrettini. 

The Italian player ended the year in the top-10 but he had a season with ups and downs. 

“I struggled to settle on my ranking. What I achieved in 2019 was deserved, but it was unexpected. I need to play many matches to get the rhythm”. 

The defeat against Casper Ruud was the biggest disappointment of this year. 

“The match against Ruud was decided by just two points. If I had reached the semifinal, it could have been another season. This negative result was a learning experience. My team invited me to be relaxed and patient. I am confident for the future”. 

The 2020 season was highlighted by the great results achieved by Jannik Sinner, who reached the quarter final at Roland Garros and won his first title in Sofia. 

“Sinner is enjoying an impressive season. He is mature. At his age I did not think about winning a single match. He is playing with a clear plan for the future. Every point he plays is an investment. This is the secret to reach top level”. 

The countdown to the 2021 ATP Finals in Turin has begun. Yesterday marked marked the start of the ticket sale. 

“It’s a great period for Italian tennis. I really hope to qualify for the ATP Finals. It would be a good result, if an Italian player qualifies for the Turin ATP Finals. Besides me, Jannik Sinner and Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego i salso playing very well. There are many other players, who can achieve good results and give a great joy to Italian fans. There are many young players, who are hungry. Fans can be happy and confident for the future”, said Berrettini. 

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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Leylah Annie Fernandez talks about the challenge to balance tennis and school

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Leylah Annie Fernandez told her story on Noah Rubin’s website Behind the Raquet. 

 

Fernandez won the French Open Junior title in 2019. The Canadian teenager born in 2002 made her Grand Slam debut at the 2020 Australian Open. She got through the qualifying round before losing to Lauren Davis in the opening round. 

Fernandez lost a WTA final against Heather Watson in Acapulco in 2020. One week later she upset Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens to reach the quarter finals at the Monterrey Open before losing to eventual champion Elina Svitolina. 

Fernandez is now ranked world number 88. 

“I started playing tennis on a recreational level. At the age of ten, I decided to compete and become a professional player. My father was my coach, but is new to the tennis world since he was a soccer player. My dad surrounded us with other coaches who understood our philosophy, style and game. I never felt pressure from my father to play sports or do anything in life. He gave me the green light to make my own decisions and introduced me to many different activities. I played baseball, soccer, volleyball and ran on the track. However I loved tennis and once I realized there were Junior Grand Slams, I set the goal to win one. Last year I reached the Junior Australian Open final and was disappointed to lose. A few months later, I won the Junior French Open and became the first Canadian player in seven years to capture a Junior Grand Slam. This year I started playing on the WTA Tour”, said Fernandez. 

Fernandez spoke about the start of her career, the challenges she had to face and the balance between her tennis career and school. 

“It’s difficult to balance tennis, school and friends. When I started playing tennis, I was in regular school. I had friends and teachers who supported me but I constantly traveled to compete. I missed moments in my friends’ lives so it was hard to reconnect when I returned. I put my dream first and we had disagreements. I realized I wanted to play tennis full-time. My friends are now acquaintances but my family is always by my side. My two sisters are my best friends. They keep me going on the court and encourage me to achieve more in the sport”. 

Fernandez is planning to study at the University to secure her future after the end of her career. “I want to graduate from University and earn a college. I am currently attending the online programmme of Indiana University East. After tennis, I want to be involved in different business ventures and be able to help businesses succeed. I hope to inspire young Canadian players and show them we can become professionals in tennis and in the business world”, concluded Fernandez. 

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