Roland-Garros eSeries: UK winner to represent nation at French Open

Tennis gets in on the esports act, with AceDarkBall named a the UK representative for the Roland-Garros eSeries at the French Open this summer.

Tennis has become the latest traditional sport to get in the esports space, with the Roland-Garroes eSeries by BNP Paribas looking to find the Rafael Nadal of the gaming world. Qualifiers opened back in February on Tennis World Tour, with the powers that be at Roland-Garros looking for 12 players to compete at the international final at the home of French tennis on June 9.

The UK winner of the qualifiers has been named, with Eric “AceDarkBall” Panoff looking to go one better than Andy Murray and lift the title in Paris. He will be joined by the qualification winners from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, USA, Brazil, India and China as well as two wild cards to see who will become the Roland-Garos eSeries champion.

AceDarkBall said: “The international final at Roland-Garros will be much more difficult. Online, I am on the best players in the UK, but the best players are French, German or Spanish. Anything is possible and I’m not afraid of competitors, when I’m behind my screen I can beat anyone.”

AceDarkBall is on his way (back) to ParisIt would be fitting for the Paris-born AceDarkBall to go all the way in a few months’ time, with the international grand final being held during the real life French Open grand slam. The winner will receive a cash prize of €5,000, half of the prize pool for the event.

“This kind of tournament is the future,” said AceDarkBall. “I am convinced that in a few years’ time there will be a parallel eTennis circuit that will bring together all the Grand Slams and tournaments.”

Aged 54, AceDarkBall has been playing tennis video games since he moved to London 13 year ago, but only started playing Bigben’s Tennis World Tour a year ago. His quality prevailed as he defeated Saeed “Majestic99” Hirad 3-1 3-1, picking up a €300 cash prize and a ticket to the French Open, with the final held on 8-9 June. 

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Alastair Pusinelli

I am RealSport's Editor-in-Chief having covered almost everything across the board on the platform. Starting with content on football and the Chinese Super League, I have expanded into esports and gaming, via a stint as rugby editor.

With RS now focused on gaming and working alongside Gfinity, I led the site's coverage on the football titles of FIFA, Football Manager and PES. This has enabled me to cover official esports events such as the FIFA eWorld Cup, FUT Champions Cups and the Gfinity FIFA Series.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC.