Tennis: Trophy in hand, Matthias ready for the Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament in Paris

Matthias Wong making a backhand return in his straight-sets win over Joshua Cheng. While he is happy to win a trophy to show his siblings, he is more excited to go to Paris for the Longines Future Tennis Aces event alongside the French Open.
Matthias Wong making a backhand return in his straight-sets win over Joshua Cheng. While he is happy to win a trophy to show his siblings, he is more excited to go to Paris for the Longines Future Tennis Aces event alongside the French Open.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The prize was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the Longines Future Tennis Aces in Paris but all Matthias Wong wanted was to get his hands on the gleaming trophy handed to the winner of the Singapore qualifier.

The national youth player got his reward yesterday after beating fellow 12-year-old Joshua Cheng 6-1, 7-5 in the final at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Matthias, who admires 18-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer for his elegant style of play and cool temperament, said: "I'm very happy (to win a trophy) because I can show it to my brother and sister, but I'm happier to go to Paris.

"I'm expecting that there will be a lot of good players and I hope to learn from them so I know what to improve on."

He will join 19 other boys (aged 13 and below) in the French capital for the June 1-3 Longines tournament, which started in 2010 and is played on clay courts. It takes place alongside the French Open - tennis' second Grand Slam of the year.

The overall winner will receive a Longines watch and a scholarship, valued at US$2,000 (S$2,800) per year, until they turn 16.

Matthias won last year's Singapore Tennis Association Spex/Tanglin Academy Under-12 clay-court competition, but his father William said the boy needed more practice time on the surface and is likely to leave for Paris one to two weeks earlier to get used to the weather and playing conditions.

The 50-year-old, who owns a real estate business, added: "He may be playing well among his peers in Singapore now, but it's very important for him to set a benchmark against the best (junior) players from all over the world so he can see how much he needs to improve going forward."

Singapore's previous seven participants have all lost in the first round of the Longines event. This year's edition has been changed to a round-robin format, with participants split into four groups.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Trophy in hand, Matthias ready for Paris'. Print Edition | Subscribe