Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros: Siddhant and Malikaa win their boarding pass to Paris

Malikaa MaratheNew Delhi: Siddhant J Banthia and Malikaa Marathe emerged victorious in the boys and girls division respectively in the third edition of ‘Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines’ at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association here on Wednesday. The joint initiative by the French Tennis federation (FFT) and All India Tennis Association (AITA) saw some of India’s top U-18 players in action on the clay courts at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA).

Both Siddhant J Banthia and Malikaa Marathe earned their boarding pass to Paris where they will complete against players from Japan, South Korea, China, Brazil and USA for a wild card entry into the Roland Garros Junior (French Open) in May 2017.

Siddhant J Banthia and Abhimanyu Vannemreddy played hard tennis throughout the week and finals were no different. 16 year old Siddhanth got past Abhimanyu Vannemreddy from Karnataka in straight sets 6-1, 6-0. Abhimanyu showed some resilience but could not stop Siddhant from winning the title. After the prize distribution Siddhant said “It was an amazing experience playing here and hopefully I will win the wild card entry into the French Open”

13 year old Malikaa Marathe was unstoppable in finals, she cruised past Yubrani Banerjee in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Yubrani Banerjee has played impressively throughout the week but it was second seeded Malikaa who was the better player on the day. An ecstatic Malikaa said "It feels great to have qualified for the finals and I hope I can continue my form further in Paris"

Mr. Bernard Giudicelli, President of French Tennis Federation said, “It has been a really satisfying third season of the 'Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines' for all of us at the French Tennis Federation. It gives me immense pleasure to be associated with the tournament where a total of 225 players got the opportunity to participate in the qualifiers which took place in two cities - Kolkata and Pune. The FFT has worked tirelessly in the organizing of the tournament for it's third consecutive year, and it is really satisfying to see how the young talent has emerged through the tournament. I would like to wish the winners best of luck for the finale in Paris. Our focus has been on helping the All India Tennis Association in promoting clay court tennis in the country, and I am sure many more players will come out of the region in the future as well. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the entire team of AITA and Longines for their constant support. ”

Looking forward to the continued association, Mr. Narendra Kumar Hon. Life Vice President –All India Tennis Association said. “We are delighted with the performance of our players in the 'Rendez-Vous à Roland-Garros in partnership with Longines'. The tournament was put in place to promote clay court tennis across the country, and with the expansion of the tournament to cities like Kolkata and Pune this year, we are confident that there is scope for more talent to emerge through the ranks in the future as well. It is also very pleasing to reiterate on the fact that the tournament has been inducted into the AITA Calendar from this year onwards. We are thankful to the FFT for their constant support and are already excited to host the future editions of the tournament. I would also like to congratulate the winners and wish them all the best for the grand finale in Paris.”

Arantxa Sanchez expressed her joy after witnessing the finals. She said, "It has been a great week for me personally to have come to India to witness such great talent. I saw a glimpse of myself when I interacted with the finalists and I am sure they love clay courts as much as I do. I would like to thank the FFT, AITA and Longines for inviting me for such a great tournament. I would also like to wish all the players the best of luck for the finale in Paris."