posted on 10/05/2012: 759 views
Five young tennis players earned themselves an all-expenses trip to this yearâ€™s French Open after battling it out in the finals of the Clark Francis Tennis Swiss Junior Masters Finals at the Aviation Club on Friday.
â€œIâ€™m really excited. I made a wish to go to Paris on my birthday. And now Iâ€™m going,â€ said a jubilant Haktan Garrayeva, 9, from Azerbaijan, one of the five who made the grade in the series which has been on since last October.
The finals of the annual series took place on Friday and with temperatures luckily dipping a few degrees, the players were at their very best and the competition for prizes was at its fiercest.
In its eighth year, the CFT Swiss Junior Masters event has become a popular fixture on the junior tennis calendar in the UAE, bringing together no less than 320 of the regionâ€™s best talents, including some players from Oman and Bahrain.
â€œDuring the course of the year, we run 12 to 13 events where each player builds up ranking points,â€ explains CF tennis director, Jon Guntley. â€œAnd at the end of the events, the top 16 ranked players in each event qualify for the Masters Finals. And thatâ€™s whatâ€™s happening today. Theyâ€™ve been battling out in the knockout event all day.â€
With tournament title sponsors Swiss providing the plane tickets for the winners, Adidas providing the French Open VIP quarter-final briefs and the remaining expenses covered by CF Tennis and other sponsors, Guntley says the lucrative prize on offer has made the event extremely popular.
He added: â€œThe prize is one of the main attractions and with that in mind it brings a lot of strong players in to play against our strong players and I think everyone benefits. Itâ€™s a good strength tournament.â€
For Adham Gabr, Friday was a busy day as the young Egyptian played almost nine hours of tennis to end up winning the Advantage-Handicap event and finish runner-up in the 14s&Under one.
Although heâ€™s experienced the French Open from the stands before, having won the 10s&Under tournament a couple of years ago, Gabr was eager to finish off his opponent Nikhil Nambiar, whom he beat 10-3 for the title, and the trip to Paris. â€œI was exhausted in my second final. But I did the best I could,â€ said Gabr.
â€œYesterday [Thursday] he trained with his coach for three hours, even though he was scheduled for only one hour and a half,â€ his mother Shereen said. â€œBut he told his coach â€˜I want to play more, I have something very important tomorrowâ€™. Iâ€™m glad heâ€™s building up his stamina like this.â€
The 16s&Under winner Miguel Rodrigo Nau, who endured the longest final of the day fighting off the talented Harish Das 10-7, said he canâ€™t wait to see Rafael Nadal try to defend his title at Roland Garros.
He said: â€œIâ€™m very excited. Itâ€™s my first real tournament win. Iâ€™m really happy to go to Paris to the French Open and Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing the stars. Especially Nadal, my favourite, the king of clay.â€
UAE veteran and No1 tennis player, Omar Behroozian, was present at the Club watching the country's rising talent, and presented the winners and runners-up with their trophies after the finals were over. â€" Sport 360Â°
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