Grand Prix De Son Altesse Royale La Princesse Lalla Meryem Concludes in Rabat

26-05-2024 18:13:19  

The 22nd edition of the Grand Prix De Son Altesse Royale La Princesse Lalla Meryem was held from May 18 to 25, 2024, in Rabat, Morocco. This prestigious WTA 250 event saw the participation of four African players, with significant attendance from key figures in the tennis community, including Jean-Claude Talon, President of the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT).

The Egyptian tennis sensation, Mayar Sherif, the runner-up, had an impressive run to the final. Her journey was marked by decisive victories. In the first round, she defeated Aya El Aouni from Morocco, 6-2, 6-1. In the second round, Sherif overcame Argentina’s Maria Carlé with a 6-3, 6-2 win. She continued her winning streak in the quarterfinals by triumphing over Spain’s third seed, Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-3, 6-3. Sherif secured her spot in the final with a dominant performance against Kamilla Rakhimova in the semifinals, winning 6-0, 6-1. However, in the final, Sherif faced the American Peyton Stearns, who played an exceptional match and secured the championship with a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

Despite the tough competition, African players showcased their skills and determination. Yasmine Kabbaj from Morocco battled hard but lost in the first round to Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 3-6, 4-6. Malak El Allami, also from Morocco, faced the Italian fourth seed, Lucia Bronzetti, and lost 6-1, 6-0 in the first round. Aya El Aouni of Morocco encountered a challenging first-round match against Mayar Sherif, resulting in a 6-2, 6-1 loss.

The event also served as a platform for strategic discussions about the future of tennis in Africa. CAT President Jean-Claude Talon, along with CAT Vice President Aziz Laarraf, met with the President of the Moroccan Olympic Committee and the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Tennis, Faïcel Laraïchi. The discussions focused on pivotal projects, including the African Qualifications for Les Petits As. Morocco will host the first-ever African qualifications for this prestigious junior tournament from October 28 to November 2, 2024. Additionally, plans were discussed to launch a new circuit for African players, expanding beyond the current tournament structure for players aged 14 and under. This initiative aims to create more competitive opportunities and nurture emerging talent across the continent.

The 2024 Grand Prix De Son Altesse Royale La Princesse Lalla Meryem was not only a display of high-level tennis but also a significant step forward for the sport’s development in Africa. The event underscored the potential of African players and set the stage for future growth and recognition of African tennis on the global stage.