Tennis World Tour esports is back for a second year, in the form of the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas. It’s quite a name for a tournament - not only does it not really roll off the tongue, but I also spy a rogue capital S. This is especially interesting since the PR email I received says “e-sports,” with a small s but a wayward hyphen. Other terms used include “e-tennis,” “e-gaming,” and even “off-line.” At least it’s a consistent hyphen. Except in eSeries.
Look, here’s a trailer, which makes it seem like the objective in e-tennis is to smash as many windows as possible in the shortest amount of time:
Yeah, take that, windows.
The competition will be a (part of the) world cup, with ten countries facing off for the championship. Beginning today, players from the selected countries, which include Great Britain, can compete against one another in an attempt to reach the top eight, who will then advance into the international stages. (Though PC players are out of luck – competitors must enter through the PS4 version of the game “to open up the tournament to as many people as possible.")
Some of the finals will be LAN events, including ones taking place at traditional tennis tournaments like Italy’s Internazionali BNL di Roma and France’s Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes de Lyon. The grand finals will be a part of the Parisian Grand Slam, which begins in May. The finals will “will crown this year’s world tennis gaming champion,” say the organisers, which is quite a sentence given that analogue tennis is also a game.
Bizarrely, if none of this was bizarre enough already, some of the competition will also take place in a currently unreleased version of the game, the Roland-Garros edition, which is scheduled to release on May 16th. One might assume this means it’s a close enough match to prior versions so as to allow players to practice, but it’s advertised as “a unique opportunity to discover the game’s new features.” Just when you want to be discovering new things about a video game – when you’re competing for a share of a €10,000 prize pool in an international tournament. (Tennis World Tour is also reportedly extremely buggy, so time will tell if this new edition fixes some of that.)
One of the new features is the “newly-renovated Philippe Chatrier court,” which has a clay surface. Many members of my family are very into tennis, which means I know that can be a big deal, but today I learned that clay is “one of the oldest and most noble surfaces in the history of tennis.” Thanks, PR email. I forgive your unsettling style guide when it comes to prefixes for competitive gaming.
All of the details, and many other sentences that made me smile, can be found in their full announcement. And though I am poking fun, I will definitely be following this. I’m a sucker for esports that aren’t just shooty-bang types. Competitive Farming Simulator? Sign me up.