The French Tennis Federation (FFT), organisers of the Roland Garros Grand Slam, in association with the All India Tennis Association (AITA), has announced the sixth edition of the ‘Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series’.
The series will be held at the clay courts of the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) from February 24 to 26.
The four-time Grand Slam champion Mary Pierce will visit the city to motivate the players and help the Junior Wild Card Series in its quest to promote clay court tennis at the grassroots level in India. The one-of-a-kind tournament provides young Indian players with a unique opportunity to qualify for the Roland-Garros Junior Main draw to be held in France in May 2020.
Each of the top-8 boys and girls in the AITA Ranking will be eligible to participate in the three-day tournament. The winners from both categories will then travel to Paris to compete in the Junior Roland-Garros Qualifiers, with a shot to qualify for the main draw of the Roland Garros Junior tournament. The series also gives participants from India, a valuable opportunity to compete against the best junior players from China, Mexico and Brazil.
This year’s ambassador, Mary Pierce, not only has experience of playing and winning at Roland-Garros, but is also committed to encouraging and mentoring young players. Looking forward to the ‘Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series’, the tennis legend said.
“I truly believe there are some great young talents in India which have the potential to do well internationally in the coming years. I am proud to be a part of something which gives these promising players a chance to play at one of the biggest stages of tennis. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of my win at Roland-Garros, so it’s very special for me to be representing the tournament and sharing my knowledge.”
Speaking on the occasion, Lucas Dubourg, the head of international development of the FFT, said, “The Indian edition of the Junior Wild Card competition always throws up exciting matches and the winners have gone on to perform exceedingly well at the playoffs in Paris. Hence, we are delighted to announce that we will be continuing the ‘Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series’ in New Delhi. I would like to thank the All India Tennis Association for being a worthy partner and helping us make this initiative a big success every year.”
This competition cements the collaborative effort put in by both Roland-Garros and AITA to organize grassroots championships of international repute in India. This association is instrumental in producing many young talents who have represented the nation in the junior levels.
Further emphasising on the significance of the series for junior players, AITA President Praveen Mahajan said, “Roland-Garros Junior Wild Card Series by OPPO further cements AITA’s commitment towards providing the best of opportunities to our players and facilitating the growth of the sport in India. I am confident that this exposure will pay rich dividends for these players and the country, now and in the future.”