On Friday March 29th the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas’ UK national final took place.

The eight players qualified through the online qualification faced each other in the BNP Paribas London’s headquarters. The tournament lasted the entire afternoon. 
The winner, Eric “AceDarkBall” Panoff, prevailed after having beaten Saeed “Majestic99”Hirad (3-1 / 3-1) in the final match.

As the winner, Eric gets a 300 € cash prize and his ticket to Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas International final, which will be held in Roland-Garros stadium on June 8th and 9th. There, he will compete against the other players representing their country, including the winner of last year’s edition: Carlos Che.

Eric comes from Paris but has been living in London for 13 years now. He is 54 years old and has been playing video games since 2006. He started playing Tennis World Tour one year ago and is already part of the game’s top 5 English players. As such, he will be a serious title contender in Paris.

Below, AceDarkBall’s interview right after his victory:

How are you feeling / how did this Offline Final go?

I am not really comfortable when my player appears at the top of the screen, so I was a bit stressed. I would have been more comfortable if the players had appeared always on the same side. But despite this I managed to win twice, so yes, that was good.

How do you envision the international Final in Paris?

Well, I guess the Final in France at Roland-Garros will be harder to win than this one. I won the online tournament and am one of the top British players online. But on top of the online ranking there are Spanish, German and French contestants. That is why I think it will be much more difficult, but you know what, who knows ?

Which country are you the most afraid of ?

Well, I am not afraid of one of them specifically. Carlos seems to be a good player, he managed to get to the International Final two years in a row so it must mean something. But I do not fear any opponent. When I am behind the screen, I can beat anybody.

How will you prepare for the Final?

I need to improve my game and get more comfortable playing when my player appears on top of the screen. So I will try to find a friend who can help me. My wife will probably decline the offer!

What do you think of this kind of video games tournaments?

I think it is the future, I mean it is just the beginning and I am pretty sure that, let’s say in 5 to 10 years, there will be a completely parallel e-Tennis world in each Grand Slam and tournaments. I really hope so because, with this type of games, people like me, who cannot play tennis (anymore), can keep on living the dream.

What do you think of the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas ?

I think it is a more complicated to go through than last year, because you got the online tournament then the offline, so we have different stages to go through. But I think it is the right way to proceed. I enjoyed it, the crew and the team were very nice and it was well-organised. I'm very pleased to be at Roland-Garros in 2 months.