Longines Future Tennis Aces ‒ On the Road to the French Open

 

Over the weekend, Max Kwok and Ophelia Tang won the boys' and girls' selections respectively to punch their ticket to rendezvous with fellow 13 & Under competitors from around the globe for the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2018 in Paris during the first week of Roland Garros.

 

Main photo (L-R): Max Kwok (Boys' winner), Mr. Chris Lai, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Tennis Association, Ms. Karen Au-Yeung, Vice President of LONGINES Hong Kong, and Ophelia Tang (Girls' winner).

 

HKTA President, Philip Mok, enthused, "We are grateful for the opportunity provided by Longines to our juniors to play against overseas competition on a world stage. The overall experience from this trip will certainly broaden their horizons and hopefully help them set even bigger goals for the future."

 

"A target that was set three years ago is reached finally.  Winning over myself both physically and emotionally is just as tough, if not tougher, than beating an opponent out on court.  I must learn to better handle pressure and continue to improve to help me face future challenges that lie ahead of me," said Ophelia.

 

Max: "It feels great to win and that I get to go this year because normally, it alternates between boys and girls every other year.  Last year was the boys' turn and I wouldn't have had the chance if the organizers didn't change it to both boys and girls this time round.  I will try my best to complete a goal of mine and if I can do it, I'll be really happy."

 

In 2017, Max was the Boys' 12 & Under singles runner-up at the Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships and a mainstay of the Hong Kong team that placed 7th at the ITF Asian 12 & Under Team Championships.

 

Max is the current No. 1-ranked player in the Boys' 13 & Under age group in Hong Kong.

 

Ophelia Tang is the reigning Girls' 12 & Under singles champion of the Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships.  She also won the Girls' 10 & Under title in 2016.  She was a member of the Hong Kong girls' team that competed at the 2017 ITF Asian 12 & Under Team Championships Regional Qualifying Event in Shenzhen.

 

Ophelia is the top-ranked player in the Girls' 13 & Under age group in Hong Kong.

 

Sixteen players took part in the Hong Kong selection event, with eight boys divided into two groups of four, and likewise for the eight girls.   The top 2 from each group following round robin play advanced to the elimination round (semifinal). 

 

In the boys' draw, Max Kwok beat Henry Lau, 4-1, 4-2, in one semifinal, while Dasson Chan eased past Lucas Mock, 4-1, 4-0, in the other.  In the final, Max Kwok defeated Dasson Chan, 5-3, 5-3, to book his spot to the French capital.

 

In the girls' draw, Ophelia Tang defeated Cheryl Ho, 5-3, 4-2, in one semis, while Yeung Tsz Lam beat Eva Cheung by the same score in the other.  In the final, Ophelia Tang saw off Yeung Tsz Lam, 4-2, 4-0, to secure her place for Paris.

 

Max and Ophelia will join the other selection winners from China, Chinese Taipei, Singapore, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, Russia, Switzerland, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Poland, Austria, USA, and Australia to compete at the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris.

 

The finalists will receive a special Longines watch and an annual bursary of US$2,000 for tennis equipment until his/her 16th birthday.

 

Aside from competing in the annual tournament, the players will get to visit some of the most iconic sites in the French capital.  Outings to the Eiffel Tower and dinner aboard the Bateaux Parisien are examples from previous trips.

 

Players from Hong Kong who competed at the Longines Future Tennis Aces in Paris were:



2010  Abigail Chiu
2011  Lawrence Lo
2012  Claudia Ng
2013  Stephen Wong
2014  Justine Leong
2015  Kevin Wong
2016  Candy Wai
2017  Coleman Wong

 

Last year, Coleman Wong battled Poland's Martyn Pawelski point for point before he lost a hard-fought final, 4-2, 3-4(3), [6-7].  Despite the setback, he is the first player from Hong Kong to reach the final since the event's inception back in 2010.

 

Afterwards, both Coleman Wong and Martyn Pawelski got the chance to play a special exhibition match with Longines Ambassador and tennis legend, Andre Agassi, and former ATP No. 2 and patron of the event, Alex Corretja.

 

Notable past participants include Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France (2010), who went on to reach a junior world ranking of No. 5 following his triumph at the French Open Junior Championships in 2016, and Tseng Chun-Hsin of Chinese Taipei (2013), who is presently the third best junior in the world.

 

Ms. Bernice Tse, Marketing Manager at Longines, the Swatch Group HK Ltd., is pictured below with this year's eight semifinalists (L-R): Ophelia Tang, Yeung Tsz Lam, Eva Cheung, Cheryl Ho, Max Kwok, Dasson Chan, Henry Lau, and Lucas Mock.

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