Staffordshire student represents UK in world's biggest eTennis tournament

An Esports student from Staffordshire University is hoping to become the first ever UK winner of the Roland-Garros eSeries this month

The Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas is the world’s biggest eTennis tournament and Staffordshire University was specially selected by French Tennis Federation (FFT) to host one of eight international qualifying rounds in April.

Aymeric Labaste, Head of International Development of the French Tennis Federation, said: "We are delighted to benefit from the expertise and support from Staffordshire University in organising the UK qualifying stage of the 2021 Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas, they did an amazing job! Staffordshire University has a major role in our intention to foster esport young talents and to position our event as a meaningful springboard towards a career in esport. This 1st year of collaboration is the beginning of a great story and the future together sounds truly exciting!”

Played on the video game “Tennis World Tour 2” the tournament is supported by French esports team MCES and brings together competitors from Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

BA (Hons) Esports students helped to broadcast the live two-day event to thousands of viewers across the world from the University’s Esports Hub in Stoke-on-Trent while 16 players battled for a place in the Grand Final.

First year Esports student Max Ward was triumphant and he will travel to France, all expenses paid, to take part in a workshop organized in Roland-Garros on Friday 28 May and to represent the UK in the Grand Final against seven other players on Saturday 29 May.

Max said: “Being able to organise and compete in an event like this is an amazing opportunity. I didn’t expect to win! It took a couple of days to sink in but it is really exciting to be going to France to represent my university and my country!”

The 23-year-old from Winchester, who started on the Esports foundation course, coaches amateur esports players in North America and Europe alongside his studies and also has a voluntary job role as a copy editor with the International Journal of Esports.

He said: “A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have thought of doing anything like this. Really quickly after I started at Staffs, I realised that I should take up more opportunities and gained the confidence to put myself out there.”

The winner of the competition will share €5,000 prize money with the runner-up, take part in a professional esports bootcamp at Team MCES and have chance to some the professional tennis players competing at Roland-Garros.

Esports Course Leader Stuart Kosters said: “To be selected to host the qualifiers was a real honour and testament to the talent of our students. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to put into practice all the skills that they’ve learnt on the course from project management to camerawork and presenting on an international stage.

“It shows that we can deliver at the highest level and Roland-Garros were very impressed with the quality of the broadcast. With our first cohort of Esports students graduating this summer, this experience gives them a perfect platform to launch their careers in the industry.”

Final year student Ala'Eddin Bayaa had the opportunity to host, cast, and interview players during the tournament. He said: “I had a great experience and was lucky to have this opportunity to increase and develop my skills. Should I decide to become a host, I would now have the experience and knowledge to back it up.

“The fact I got to be one of the faces of the Roland Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas qualifier is fantastic exposure for pushing out my personal brand to potential employers. I hope I get to do it again soon!”

The Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas Grand Final will be streamed live on Saturday 29 May on Gael Monfils’ official Twitch channel. Re-watch the first live show of Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas 2021 on the Roland-Garros YouTube channel.

A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have thought of doing anything like this. Really quickly after I started at Staffs, I realised that I should take up more opportunities and gained the confidence to put myself out there.

Max Ward, BA (Hons) Esports

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