Longines’ Continous Support to French Open

AS GOOD ACE IT GETS. Longines became the official timekeeper of the French open and the tournament host for gifted youths

The players at the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2017

Last June officially marked the return of the French open. One of the most celebrated tennis tournaments in the world, Roland Garros, as it is famously called in France, sees some of the world’s greatest players battling it out on clay courts. That distinctive, slippery red turf offers a tough challenge for even veteran players. This is especially true as tennis balls tend to bounce a lot less on clay courts compared to a typical hard court. Watching the game live is thus as exciting as standing just a few meters away from a buzzing racetrack.

It got even better this year as we were treated to the sight of Rafael Nadal, the reigning champion of Roland Garros, making a strong comeback after Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka beat him in the previous years. And with the Parisian summer at its height, this year’s French Open was certainly not to be missed.

The players at the Longines Future Tennis Aces 2017

Smashing Youth

Longines has been a loyal partner and official timekeeper to the two-week match for 11 years in a row. The Saint-Imier-based watch brand, which fetes its 185th anniversary this year, made a great contribution to the championship on the court, as it measured not just the duration of the game but also the speed of each serve. During a fascinating battle between two talented Spanish pros, namely Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut, the Longines scoreboard showed how the former managed to hit a serve at 182kph. You definitely don’t want to be on the other side of the net with this guy.

Besides the French open, the Swiss watchmaker also threw a special initiative that celebrated tennis for gifted youths. The eighth edition of Longines future tennis aces taking place at the Parvis de la Défense, also in Paris, invited 20 adolescent players from various parts of the world to play and pick up the cultural tradition of the racket sport. Juan-Carlos Capelli, vice president of Longines, added how this particular tournament adopted the same rules as Roland Garros itself. “It’s our way to support the new generation to get involved in sports and to learn about performance and respect,” he added.

Star Spanish tennis player Alex Corretja teaching kids on the court

Another form of support for the next generation also came from Longines’ very own brand ambassadors: tennis legends Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf. The husband-and-wife duo has long been involved in various causes through their respective foundations. While Agassi tackles access to education for youngsters, Graf cares for those coming from families traumatized by war. Speaking of which, Agassi also made time to drop by the Longines boutique in Paris during the Roland Garros week to hold an autograph session.

Juan-carlos capell

Play on the Clay

With the official tournament spanning from May 28 to June 11, DA MAN had the opportunity to visit the Roland Garros stadium in Paris to watch the game live on June 4. Security was tight, given the incident in London the night before. Still, anticipation remained high.

“It was Nadal, the King of Clay, who stepped up to claim his historic tenth win”

The eponymous site, which took after the name of a famous French aviator, comprises of 20 courts. The long days of summer made it possible for the tournament to hold four matches per day, and, luckily, we managed to sneak in during one of Nadal’s exhilarating games against a fellow Spanish player, Roberto Bautista Agut, at the Suzanne Lenglen court. Unlike the ever-so-quiet live shows of the game on TV, once you are on the court you could breathe in the enthusiasm and energy emanating from the audience. During the short pauses between serves, a few members of the crowd would stand up and shout, either exhorting Nadal to beat his opponent or the other way around. Naturally, the game’s army of officials were kept quite busy trying to keep them down. in the end, it was Nadal, the undisputed king of clay, who stepped up to claim his historic tenth win—the highest number of titles won by a single player in the history in the French open since 1891.

Andre Agassi wearing the longines roland Garros watch

As we hopped from one court to another, we also had the opportunity to take a closer look at the special Roland Garros watch from Longines. This year’s edition includes models for men and women, both of which feature an engraving of the tennis tournament’s iconic trophy at the back. Capelli naturally sported one on his wrist during our casual chat and the stainless steel watch was also showcased at boutiques all over Paris. Of course, with Roland Garros and the invitational for young players, this is definitely one of the most memorable times of the year to visit the city of Light.