Starting today, a top quality, international sporting event offers Fes residents the opportunity to enjoy the spring sunshine and get up close to some of the big names on the women’s tennis circuit – the WTA Grand Prix de SAR, Princess Lalla Meryem Tennis Tournament. Vanessa Bonnin reports for The View from Fez.
At the Royal Tennis Club de Fes, players such as Yanina Wickmayer, Anabel Medina Garrigues (winner in 2009), Svetlana Kuznetsova and Simona Halep will be battling it out for this year’s title.
Halep will be the one everyone is watching this year, after her fantastic previous performances. In 2010 she entered the tournament with a wild card and battled her way through the qualifying rounds all the way to the finals, only to lose to Iveta Benesova. She repeated her dream run in 2011, again making the finals, but again losing at the last moment to Alberta Brianti (also playing this year).
|Halep v Benesova 2010 - Photoo Vanessa Bonnin|
Moroccan fans will be kept happy with some local favourites competing as well – the very popular Nadia Lalami, who was given an encouragement award last year after she upset the first seed and world number 24 Aravane Rezai in the second round, becoming the first Moroccan player to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA tournament. Rezai is also back this year – perhaps there will be a rematch?
Other Moroccan players are Fatima Erraji, Ghita Benhadi and Intissar Rassif.
Entry for spectators is free and the grounds of the tennis club, plus the Majestic Restaurant, make this the place to be this week. The schedule is as follows:
Qualifying Rounds – April 21, 22 and 23.
Main Draw Rounds – April 24, 25.
Quarter Finals (Singles and Doubles) - April 26.
Semi Finals (Singles and Doubles) – April 27.
Finals (Singles and Doubles) – April 28.
Story and stadium photographs: Vanessa Bonnin