Chapter 05

5

Tomorrow's Champions

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Longines Future Tennis Aces 2017
An early dream !
LONGINES SUPPORTS THE YOUNG ATHLETES
They are all under the age of 13, hail from the four corners of the globe and dream of one day winning it all at the prestigious Roland Garros tournament. Partner and Official Timekeeper of the French Open, Longines is on the hunt for the champions of tomorrow, providing the chance for twenty children to see how they measure up in a tournament worthy of the greatest professional tennis players.
For eight years now, Longines has organised a tennis tournament that brings together the most promising players under the age of 13 from their respective countries. This tournament is supported by the French Tennis Federation (FFT) and aims to help these young and talented athletes to enjoy an international experience in conditions that are identical to those of Roland Garros. Each year, the participants attempt to qualify for the finals and to compete in a truly exceptional exhibition match. These players, who come from all over the world, are selected by their respective tennis federations. As Partner and Official Timekeeper of the Parisian Grand Slam since 2007 and organiser of the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament (LFTA) since 2010, Longines is committed to giving them the best possible welcome.In 2016, the tournament was held for the first time on the Parvis de La Défense, the economic heart of the French capital, on an outdoor court. Longines brought together 16 young girls who come from Australia, China, South Korea, Spain, the United States, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan to participate in this event. The long-awaited final saw Kristina Volgapkina from Russia face off against María Dolores López Martínez of Spain, with the latter emerging victorious. Accompanied by former Spanish player and event sponsor Arantxa Sánchez Vicario all week long, the young champions enjoyed a unique experience, culminating in a friendly doubles match between the two finalists, Arantxa and Kim Clijsters. The winner, María Dolores López Martínez, also had the honour of tossing the coin for Sunday’s second match of the day on the Philippe-Chatrier court, which saw Wawrinka and Troicki face off in the last sixteen. In her own words, it was a real dream come true for the champion in the making.
María Dolores López Martínez, 2016 winner
Representing Spain in competition, María Dolores López Martínez brilliantly won the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2016 tournament. It was a magnificent victory for the young player, who had barely been playing tennis for four years. The expected congratulations were not long in coming, flooding in from the four corners of the Iberian Peninsula, beginning with those of the mayor of Almería, who had made a point of meeting with María Dolores before her departure for Paris. The head of the Spanish government also saluted the success of the young Andalusian on Twitter. Bringing Spain its second title since the creation of the Longines Future Tennis Aces, this talented player was received with all due respect for the achievement upon her return from France. The regional council of Almería was eager to celebrate this tour de force, and offered financial support for María Dolores to help her pursue her career internationally. More than a simple victory, her title at the Longines Future Tennis Aces is the stuff of fairy tales.
2017: the boys’ edition
The 2017 edition will welcome 20 young boys from 20 different countries. For a week, the young and talented players will attend the Longines Academy, a training camp that will give them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with playing on clay courts. Each year, they are guided by two specialists in the sport who provide them with precious technical tips. In 2017, Rémi Barbarin, the former coach of Gaël Monfils and Michaël Llodra, among others, will be one of the experts helping the players, as this year’s tournament is dedicated to boys (boys and girls enter the lists alternating every other year). After a week of training, the competition will run from 1 to 3 June, following a finals table drawn at random on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. How symbolic for theseyoung players from all over the world! The competitors will need to be able to deal with the intense pressure inherent to the tournament. This pressure will rise a notch in the finals, held Saturday 3 June in the presence of Àlex Corretja, who is the sponsor of the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2017 edition. In addition to a victory in a prestigious international tournament, the winner will receive a trophy, a replica of the Musketeers’ Trophy, which will be presented by FFT president Bernard Giudicelli, as well as a Longines watch. What’s more, the two finalists will receive an annual scholarship of $ 2,000 for their athletic equipment until their 16th birthday, and in honour of their amazing achievement, will participate in an exhibition match with the event sponsor, as well as with another former professional player.
Longines’ commitment
It was a natural step for Longines to offer its support to young sporting talents through its Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament. Over the last few years, Longines has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the champions of tomorrow – not only in the world of tennis, but in skiing and equestrian sports as well. The Longines Future Racing Stars prize is awarded to the winner of the eponymous race for young jockeys during the Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly, while the Longines Future Ski Champions is a race for skiers under the age of 16 that is held as part of the Alpine Skiing World Cup.
LFTA
Tournament history
Boys' winner
Year
Girls' winner
Jaime Fermosell (ESP)
2010
Aleksandra Pospelova (RUS)
Winner
Year
Runner-up
Marko Osmakcic (SUI)
2011
Artem Dubrivnyy (RUS)
Destanee Aiava (AUS)
2012
Haruna Arakawa (JAP)
Rudolf Molleker (GER)
2013
Carlos Sanchez (ESP)
Federica Rossi (ITA)
2014
Daria Frayman (RUS)
Xiaofei Wang (CHN)
2015
Jack Pinnington Jones (GBR)
María Dolores López Martínez (ESP)
2016
Kristina Volgapkina (RUS)
LFTA 2016
Tournament draw
FIRST ROUND
QUARTERFINALS
SEMIFINALS
FINAL
M. D. López Martínez (ESP)
440
M. D. López Martínez (ESP)
440
M. Seo Park (KOR)
020
L. Walker (AUS)
110
L. Walker (AUS)
110
M. Seo Park (KOR)
020
S. Dev (IND)
440
S. Dev (IND)
440
N. Yanez (USA)
440
N. Yanez (USA)
440
L. Liu (CHN)
000
A. Tan (SGP)
000
A. Tan (SGP)
000
L. Liu (CHN)
000
L. Pigato (ITA)
440
L. Pigato (ITA)
440
K. Volgapkina (RUS)
440
K. Volgapkina (RUS)
440
K. Cvetkovic (SUI)
441
C. Tsao (TWN)
010
C. Tsao (TWN)
010
K. Cvetkovic (SUI)
441
E. Aucagne (FRA)
250
E. Aucagne (FRA)
250
A. Piestrzynska (POL)
110
A. Piestrzynska (POL)
110
Y. Ching Wai (HKG)
220
T. Kato (JPN)
440
T. Kato (JPN)
440
Y. Ching Wai (HKG)
220
A. P. Martinez (MEX)
440
A. P. Martinez (MEX)
440
M. D. López Martínez (ESP)
450
N. Yanez (USA)
501
K. Volgapkina (RUS)
444
T. Kato (JPN)
550
130
S. Dev (IND)
440
L. Pigato (ITA)
200
K. Cvetkovic (SUI)
000
A. P. Martinez (MEX)
M. D. López Martínez (ESP)
511
K. Volgapkina (RUS)
440
340
N. Yanez (USA)
110
T. Kato (JPN)
M. D. López Martínez (ESP)
440
K. Volgapkina (RUS)
120
LFTA
2016
Longines Future Tennis Aces
Where are they now ?
SPOTLIGHT
Since 2010, Longines has given promising young athletes the chance to enjoy a unique shared sporting experience. The Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament is a golden opportunity for these rising stars to pit themselves against one another at an international competition worthy of the greatest professional players. It is the first step towards one of these children’s greatest dreams of becoming one of the world's best tennis players. Since its creation, this event has seen hundreds of young talents from around the world distinguish themselves. But where are they now ? Where have their paths taken them since they competed? We turn the spotlight on five of these talented players.
Destanee Aiava
A Rising Star
Destanee Gabriella Aiava may be quietly spoken during press conferences, but put her on a tennis court and the muscular Australian teenager exposes a strength, focus and all-court power that belies her young age. At 1.75m tall she controls the court with her versatility of movement, confidence of play and fierce intuition. Destanee began her foray into tennis in 2005 at the age of 5, after her mother compiled a list of individual sports and asked her to choose one she wanted to pursue. Inspired by watching Serena Williams win the 2005 Australian Open, Destanee selected tennis, informing her parents that she would one day become world No.1. Destanee took a major step towards achieving this goal in 2012, when she won the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris. This was the first time Destanee had played on a clay court, and her first experience of international competition. Destanee has since said clay is her favourite type of court to play on. In 2012 Destanee reached the tournament finals alongside Haruna Arakawa from Japan, who lost out to Destanee’s power and agility on court. The two girls were then given the honour of playing a friendly post-win alongside Stefanie Graf and Sabine Lisicki. Winning the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament was a pivotal point in Destanee’s career to date, being the first time she had played internationally and instilling in the young player a confidence in her skill that has enabled her career to soar. Since winning, Destanee has competed in numerous tournaments, winning many including the 2014 Tecnifibre Tennis Central Championships, the 2014 NZ ITF Summer Championships and 2014 Australian Internationals (Victoria and Queensland). The same year she won the Under-18 Canadian World Ranking Event in Montreal, Canada. Launching her professional career in 2015 at the Burnie International, Destanee went on to win against Lu Jia-Jing at the Launceston Tennis International and made quarterfinals in the $ 15,000 ITF tournament in Melbourne. In 2016 during the Brisbane International, Destanee took out Bethanie Mattek-Sands in a three-set win before bailing out against world No.9 Svetlana Kuznetsova – who turned professional in 2000, the year Destanee was born. In January 2017 Destanee received main draw wildcard entries into the Australian Open singles and doubles, being the first person born this century to compete in a Grand Slam. Destanee’s talent in the sporting arena is hardly surprising given her lineage. Her father, Mark, born in New Zealand to Samoan parents, coaches mixed martial arts and is a former power lifter. Her mother Rosie, of American Samoan heritage, previously played state-level soccer and rugby union at a national level. Recently, at the request of her daughter, Rosie took on the role of both mother and coach. With an unbreakable determination and belief in her abilities, coupled with proven power play, Destanee is well on the way to fulfilling her goal of being No.1. As the young Australian told the press immediately after her Australian Open performance: “This isn’t the first and last time I’m going to be here. There’s plenty more to come.”
Three rising Polish tennis stars
Three young female tennis players from Poland won the Junior Fed Cup Tournament last year. This is a prestigious tournament for youngsters aged up to 16. Teams from around the world take part in the competition. The girls beat the teams from Russia and the USA, which were regarded as the favourites. And not long ago, all three competed in the Longines Tennis Futures Aces tournament. Iga and Stefania participated in the finals at the state level. Maja won them in 2014 and reached the semi-finals of the LFTA in Paris.
Could you introduce yourselves briefly ?
Iga Świątek My name is Iga Świątek and I’m 15. Last year I won the Europe Vice-Championship title in the singles category, the championship in the doubles category and the World Team Tennis Championship in the under-16s category.

Maja Chwalińska My name is Maja Chwalińska. I come from Dąbrowa Górnicza. I’ve been playing tennis for over eight years. I started thanks to the Talentiada initiative organised in my town.

Stefania Rogozińska-Dzik My name is Stefania Rogozińska-Dzik. I am a Legia Warsaw Sports Club player.
Where does your passion for tennis come from ? What do you like about this sport ?
I started playing tennis because my father liked the sport. My sister was the first to start; I would watch her and wanted to play like her. I enjoy the opportunity to go out on the court even after a hard day at school, and indulge in the mental “rest”. Only focusing on hitting the ball. Maybe it’s a bit different during a real match… but tennis is my great passion.

SR-D When I was a little girl, I wanted to attend various after-school classes. There was ballet, swimming, fitness and tennis, but it was tennis I liked best and I continued to play.

You took part in the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament some years ago, what is your best memory of this competition?
I was very glad that I could participate in the qualifiers as two years earlier my sister had played in that tournament. I stepped in at the last moment because one of the older girls dropped out due to injury. I was 11 then. When I won my first match against the second seeded player, I started to imagine how it would be in Paris and maybe this was the reason I lost the next match. This was my first serious tournament. It was some experience and a great deal of sorrow that I couldn’t participate, especially as my sister had competed in the Paris finals.

MC I have very good memories of that tournament. This was over two years ago, so a lot has changed since then. This tournament is very prestigious and I enjoyed playing there.

SR-D I remember it as a very professionally organised tournament. This was new to me —different from other tournaments. I played in the final match, which I lost to Maja but I went home with a great deal of experience.
In 2016, you won the Junior Fed Cup with the Polish team. What does this great accomplishment mean to you?
I gained self-confidence thanks to that event because I was able to beat the world’s top tennis players there. Of course, I also became motivated to win the adult Fed Cup some day!

MC I like playing for the Polish team very much and we played very well. But our victory was a real surprise. Obviously, I remember it as a very nice experience.

SR-D For sure, it was a great success but without my fellow players, Iga and Maja, it would have been difficult to get such a result. They carried the main burden of competition.
How will this victory help you develop your career ?
It makes me believe that anything is possible. In Budapest, I beat my greatest rivals thanks to my mindset rather than technique or running. I simply was very determined, which helped me to win.

MC Agnieszka Radwańska also won the tournament eleven years ago. This shows us that we’re on the right track and it motivates us to work even harder.

SR-D There is no doubt that this victory will influence my career. We’ve already made history because Poland won the title only for the second time. I believe that the influence will not just be limited to improving tennis statistics in Poland. It’s also nice being compared to the best Polish female tennis players.
What goals do you have for your tennis career? What is your biggest dream?
Within a year, I’d like to win the Junior Grand Slam Tournament, become WTA 500-600 in the ranking and win two professional tournaments. For the time being – those lower ranked. The first dream that comes to mind is to win every Grand Slam tournament in my career. Once I thought I could do it all in one year but now I’m a realist. It would be good if I could achieve all this in the course of my career as Stan Wawrinka is doing now.

MC Of course, I’d like to win the Grand Slam Tournament and be in the Top 10 of the WTA ranking. But as we know there’s still a long way to go.

SR-D My greatest dream is to win Wimbledon, and it would be great if the final match was on my birthday. That would be perfect! I’d also like to be the number 1 in the WTA ranking. And in the short term? My goal is to play in Junior Grand Slam tournaments and achieve good results.
What do you need to improve and go even further in your tennis career?
The greatest problem is probably mindset. I have to work on it all the time and control my emotions in the tennis court.

MC I write a diary and when I see that something wrong is happening in a training session, I write it down and on the following day I try to improve it. I pay a lot of attention to stretching and rolling. If I want to play tennis for the next fifteen years or longer, I need to pay attention to these things.

SR-D At our level, everybody plays more or less the same. Everybody plays forehand and backhand, so it comes down to your mindset. This is why I have to work on mobilization, especially during training sessions. I love playing, scoring points and I love competition, although the strenuous training routine makes me tired.
Do you have any advice for the players in the 2017 LFTA edition?
Never give up! Banish negative thoughts and motivate yourself continuously. Tennis is a great thing and afterwards you’ll regret it if you give up! Tennis is a sport for your whole life.

SR-D Don’t get scared about such events. For a 12-year-old it may be overwhelming and very stressful but show them what you do best!
Rudolf Molleker
German tennis young talent
Rudolf Molleker first picked up his racket at the age of five. Several years later, the promising player went on to a stunning victory at the Longines Future Tennis Aces. Where is he now, four years after winning the title ? The young 16-year-old German hopeful opens up about his career, his sporting challenges and his future aspirations.
You won the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in 2013. What did this experience teach you in human and sporting terms ?
It was definitely a huge win for me. It was my first experience playing in front of a lot of people and I had to learn to handle that.
How has your career developed since this victory ?
A year later I won the World Championships with the German team. I won the European Singles Championships and the European title twice with the team. Now, I’m ranked 16 in the ITF Junior Ranking and got my first ATP points.
What have been your greatest achievements in your tennis career since then ?
The greatest win until now has been winning the ITF Junior Grade 1 tournament in Offenbach as it was in my home country — Germany.
What is a typical day like for a junior tennis player ?
Since I finished school, my typical day as a junior tennis player is as follows :
09 : 00 a.m. — 11: 00 a.m. tennis practice
01 : 30 p.m. — 03 : 00 p.m. tennis practice
03 : 00 p.m. — 04 : 30 p.m. athletics practice
Sometimes the practices are followed by physiotherapy.
What are your strengths/weaknesses ?
My greatest strength is that I am really ambitious and do everything to reach my goal. But sometimes I want a little bit too much, and I have to work on that.
What goals do you have for your tennis career? 
My goal is to be the number 1 player in the world. I will do all I can to achieve it.
What qualities do you need to become a professional tennis player ?
First of all, you have to love to work and be able to give 100% even on bad days. You have to be ambitious and patient and you definitely have to believe in what you do.
Do you have any advice for the players taking part in the 2017 LFTA edition ?
My advice is to enjoy every second playing there, as I did. You never know if you’ll get another chance to play in a tournament like that again. So, enjoy it and do your best.
The French Open is the premier clay court tennis championship in the world. What does Roland Garros mean to you ?
Roland Garros always reminds me of being little playing in the LFTA. My dream would come true if I could win the Roland Garros men’s slam as well. I like playing on clay courts so I love Roland Garros.
What does the future hold ?
Nobody knows what will occur in the future, but I will practice hard and compete as best as I can to reach all my goals. So, we’ll see what happens.
"Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros"
in partnership with Longines
HELPING MAKE YOUNG PLAYERS' DREAMS COME TRUE
The winners of “Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros” 2016 : Brazilian player Rafael Wagner and Japanese player Ayano Shimizu, with Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing for Longines, and Jean Gachassin, former President of the FFT.
All tennis players dream of one day winning the Grand Slam: the highest honour in the world of tennis. However, young tennis fans rarely have the opportunity to personally attend a Grand Slam tournament, and even fewer get the chance to play against the best international players in their category.
To give as many young tennis players the chance to experience the appeal of a Grand Slam on the clay courts of Roland Garros, the French Open organises a tournament in collaboration with Longines. The aim is to pinpoint the best clay court players from Asia and the Americas and to give them the chance to win a wild card for the Roland Garros Junior Championships. The winners of the men's and women's singles matches from the qualifications stage will then go head to head in Paris. The male and female overall champion will each be awarded a wild card, which will enable them to take on the best junior players in the world at the French Open Junior tournament. This is both an extremely encouraging experience for young players and a huge boost for the long-term development of clay court tennis. In 2016, from February to April, the “Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros” initiative, organised in partnership with Longines, pitted the best junior boys' and girls' players against one another on a national scale in India, Japan, China, Brazil and South Korea to give them the chance to take part in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the tennis calendar. The finals were then held at Roland Garros itself. At the end of the tournament, the French Tennis Federation and the Swiss watch brand came together on the Court Philippe-Chatrier to officially present a wild card to the competition's two overall victors, Brazilian Rafael Wagner and Ayano Shimizu of Japan. The tournament was first held in China four years ago, before spreading to more countries year after year. In 2017, in addition to the five nations that took part in the event last year, the “Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros” tournament has travelled to the United States for the very first time. Japan started off the festivities in February. The tournament then moved on to Brazil, before arriving in China in March. India, the United States and South Korea brought the tour to a close in April. As in previous years, the winners from each country will go head to head in the final stage in Paris for the chance to win the golden ticket that will grant them access to the Roland Garros Junior Championships.
The “Roland-Garros in the city” initiative settled in Beijing in June 2016.
Roland-Garros in the city
The “Roland-Garros in the city” initiative aims to share the experience of the French Open with a wider audience. Launched in 2008 in Paris, then extended abroad in 2012, it works to promote the prestigious Parisian tournament the world over. Building on previous successes, the 2017 edition will be held in the heart of the cities of New York and Shanghai.
The philosophy of the “Roland-Garros in the city” initiative? Experiencing Roland Garros differently. Created in 2008 by the French Tennis Federation, it is designed to export the magic of the prestigious event beyond the walls of the Parisian tournament. A long-time partner of the French Open, it was only natural that Longines would be involved with this event. Last year, Seoul and Beijing were the host cities of “Roland-Garros in the city”. From 1 to 5 June 2016, young and old, tennis connoisseurs and curious onlookers alike were able to get a taste of the spirit of Roland Garros in the heart of the South Korean and Chinese capitals. Freely accessible, the space offered various infrastructures and activities to allow members of the public to familiarise themselves with clay court tennis and the Parisian tournament at their leisure. Exhibition matches, clay courts, tennis lessons and even a giant screen broadcasting matches from Porte d’Auteuil put a smile on the faces of the thousands of visitors who came to discover the world of Roland Garros. As Official Timekeeper, Longines notably offered a smash corner for the chance to practice and test the speed of one’s serve. The initiative is once again on the schedule for 2017. This new edition will be held in the heart of New York and Shanghai. Following in the footsteps of previous events, it is sure to be a choice setting for the promotion of the Roland Garros tournament and its top ambassador, clay courts.
The "Roland-Garros in the city" event in the heart of the city of Seoul in June 2016.
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