Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas: Fozzy's back-to-back

William 'Fozzy' Foster (UK) has been crowned as the winner of the 2023 Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas after defeating Shenghao “Kafe” He (China) in the Grand Final

Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas©Amélie Laurin / FFT

Returning as the winner of last year’s competition, William Foster became the first back-to-back champion of the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas by overcoming 400,000 entrants from the qualifying stages to win the best-of-five final 10/8, 10/9, 10/8, with his stellar performance taking place within the iconic Court Philippe-Chatrier at Roland-Garros in Paris.

Biggest and most inclusive eTennis tournament ever

Eight entrants, representing five countries in France, Great Britain, China, Colombia, and Israel, qualified for the Grand Final. Initially playing each other once in a round-robin group stage, the top four players progressed to the semi-finalscompeting in a best-of-three single elimination match to decide who would progress to the finals.

The tournament also featured participants from its partner -led qualifiers with Maricela Espinosa Villada and Rayann Chaghla making it to the final stages of the Women in Games (women only) and Handigamers (people with disabilities) qualifiers respectively. These form part of Fédération Française de Tennis’ (FFT) continued effort to make its eTennis tournament as inclusive as possible.

Fozzy’s run to victory began with a fourth place finish in the round-robin, before going on to face Noam Abitbul (Israel), winning out 10-8 6-10 10-4 and then defeating Shenghao “Kafe” He 10/8, 10/9, 10/8 in the final. Gilles Simon presented the winner and runner-up trophies following the match, along with the €5,000 prize money, which was split €3,500 and €1,500 respectively.

Speaking of his victory, William “Fozzy” Foster said: “It was a really hardfought tournament and though I didn’t have the best start I just had to keep the faith and it somehow worked. I just tried to stay calmer and hold my nerve as that mental element of the game is key. It was very much like a chess match but I’m ecstatic to have won the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas for a second year in a row. I’ve qualified for next month’s Olympic Esports Series but I’ll definitely be back again next year to compete.”

The Grand Final took place in a dedicated gaming space within the iconic Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris, and was live streamed in French by popular streamers Little Big Whale and Rivenzias well as world-renowned former tennis player Gilles Simon. The stream generated 160K of live views, further demonstrating the increased appetite for eTennis. For the first time, it was also live streamed in English on the Twitch and YouTube channels of Tennis Clash.

'We’d like to congratulate Fozzy on his victory', Gilles Moretton

Following the conclusion of the event, Gilles Moretton, French Tennis Federation (FFT) President said: “We are so pleased to have held yet another successful Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas which exceeded all of our expectations for both viewership and entries. We’d like to congratulate Fozzy on his victory and wish all the best to all 8 finalists, who will give their best to come back next year. It is a huge honour to organise the biggest and most inclusive etennis tournament in theworld, and we look forward to reaching even more players and viewers in the years to come!”

One of the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas’ commitments is with the #FAAPOINTSFORCHANGE charity initiative, launched in partnership with Canadian player and world number 10 Félix Auger-Aliassime. Through donations, the initiative seeks to support the education and protection of children in Togo with the NGOCARE. All year round, for every point won in competition, Félix donates €5, while BNP Paribas matches with €15. Each point of the Top-8 of 2023 Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas was turned into a 15€ donation. With the 549 points that were scored in the Grand Final the FFT made a €8,235 donation.

Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas©Amélie Laurin / FFT

This is the second year that the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas has been played on Wildlife Studios’ popular mobile titleTennis Clash, which has been downloaded over 120 million times, with the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas seeing a huge increase in participation. 400K+ players have played 4.2M+ matches in the 3 open qualifier events, signifying a 70% year on year increase in player participation and an increase of more than 150% in matches played.

This year marks BNP Paribas’ sixth year as title partner, and Renault’s second year as official partner for the competition. This was also the second year the event hosted the earlier mentioned women’s-only qualifier in partnership with Women in Games, and the first year the event hosted the a forementioned qualifier for people with disabilities in partnership with Handigamers.

For more information about the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas, visit this link.

Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas©Amélie Laurin / FFT