The Tennis Stars of Tomorrow
Eleven-year-old Rachel Lim wins place in international tournament
On April 14, the tennis stars of tomorrow competed in New York for a chance to play on the legendary clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris, France.
Sixteen girls from the northeast and California came together for the Longines Future Tennis Aces on the Road to the French Open tournament. The event was held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Queens borough of New York. The tennis center is where the U.S. Open is held every year.
The winner of the event was 11-year-old Rachel Lim from Briarcliff Manor, New York. She defeated Amanda Nord from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in three sets, 2-6, 6-2, 10-8, in the championship match.
"It feels amazing," Lim said after the match. "I came to play my best, and at the end of the day I came out with a great win. So I'm really excited."
Before any tennis was played, though, the 16 girls had to write an essay on the subject of community service. This showed how they balance their tennis with a sense of community.
Once the 16 Future Aces were selected, they came to New York and met with tennis legend Billie Jean King. She talked with all the girls, and they got to ask her questions and get expert tennis tips.
"Your head, heart and your gut all need to be together!" she told the girls.
King also discussed Title IX, the federal law that is most well known for giving women equal opportunity in sports. "The more you know about history, the more you know about yourself," was her theme of the day, and she wanted the girls to understand how far girls have come socially and in tennis. But she also talked about how important it is for girls and boys to work together to make a better future.
After some time answering questions, the girls had the amazing opportunity to see first-hand how the pros play tennis. The girls hit the courts to get in some practice time with King and 1993 French Open doubles champion Luke Jensen.
After the competition ended, awards were handed out. Elena Van Linge from California was the consolation winner. She received two tickets in the loge to the U.S. Open. Nord, who lost in the championship round, was the tournament's second-place winner. She received two courtside tickets to the U.S. Open.
As the winner, Lim received a trip to Paris and tennis equipment until she turns 16. More importantly, she's off to Paris to compete against 15 girls from 15 other countries in an international tournament. If she wins, she'll have the chance to play against former number-one women's tennis player Steffi Graf prior to the French Open.
Kid Reporter William Russell interviewed Rachel Lim before she left for Paris. Check his story out here!
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