Candy Wai in Paris for the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2016

Eleven-year-old Candy Wai recently represented Hong Kong at the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2016 in Paris where sixteen players from around the world competed for the prestigious annual 13 & Under tournament during the French Open fortnight.

Her busy itinerary this week can range from anything such as official training sessions, photo ops with Steffi Graf, media events with tennis celebrities, to tournament play, visiting the Eiffel Tower, and dinner on board the Bateaux Parisien.

A selection tournament for players aged 13 & Under takes place each year in the sixteen designated countries, namely Australia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Poland, and the United States to determine the youngsters who will be competing at the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris during the final week of the French Open.

By design, all matches take place on a clay court specially installed right in front of the Eiffel Tower. With this historical landmark as the scenic backdrop, the view from court level must be spectacular, to say the least.

Although Candy Wai bowed out to Ana Paul Martinez of Mexico in the opening round, 4-2, 4-2, wins and losses are of secondary importance this week for the trip is a great opportunity and a wonderful experience for any tennis player. Events like this are important because it can generate more interest in the game in this part of the world, and this can only mean more publicity and exposure for tennis in Hong Kong.

"Even though I wasn't able to win today's match, I think I played OK, not too bad," said Candy from Paris. "But I feel the opportunity to train and compete against such good players from all these different countries will help me improve my game. It was a great experience!"

"The European players seem to have this tremendous desire to win and their fighting spirit is really strong."

Ana Paul Martinez was a member of the Mexican team that won the ITF/GSDF 12 & U COTECC Team Masters last November.

Following the conclusion of the tournament, Arantxa Sanchez and Kim Clijsters shall partake in an exhibition game with the two finalists. To reward and support the young victors, Longines will be offering them an annual stipend until they reach the age of 16 so as to help them further their tennis careers.

Candy Wai earned her spot in Paris by winning the Longines Future Tennis Aces on the road to the French Open 2016 tournament held at the Sports Institute earlier in April. During the knockout stage, she had to battle back from a set down in both the semis and final to prevail.

Following her win against Phebe So, 1-4, 4-1, 7-2, in the semifinals, Candy managed to overcome thirteen-year-old Leung Chui Kei in another three-set tussle to win the final, 3-5, 4-2, 7-4.

At No. 18 overall according to the latest EFG Hong Kong National Junior Rankings, Leung Chui Kei also tops her age group (b. 2003). Candy Wai is ranked No. 25 overall in Hong Kong, and she too sits atop her own age group (b. 2004).

The current No. 1 ranked girls' singles player in Hong Kong is of course Claudia Ng (b. 2000), who is the reigning CRC Open Schoolgirls' title holder and the Lions Hong Kong National Junior Championships 16U winner.

Incidentally, Claudia Ng also represented Hong Kong at the Longines Future Tennis Aces in 2012.

Last year, NowTV followed Hong Kong representative Kevin Wong all the way from the tarmac at Chek Lap Kok to the red clay of Paris to document a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament:

Longines Future Tennis Aces 2015(1) (YouTube, 12:38)

Longines Future Tennis Aces 2015(2) (YouTube, 13:11)

Six years ago, Abigail Chiu won the inaugural Longines Future Tennis Aces on the road to the French Open tournament in Hong Kong to earn herself a memorable trip to Roland Garros where she made it to the semifinals before bowing out to China's Meng Lu Xi Zi.

The Longines Future Tennis Aces is part of Swiss watchmaker's global commitment to support and develop tennis superstars of tomorrow. As the Official Timekeeper of Roland Garros since 2007, Longines continues to expand its global presence in the tennis industry by foraying to new multimedia platforms. For instance, its exclusive advertising partnership around CNN's tennis programme, Open Court, now in its sixth season, is still growing strong with former Wimbledon champion, Pat Cash, as host.

Follow the Longines Future Tennis Aces and the French Open directly on the Longines website:!/

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