Since 7, Lauren Embree has wielded a tennis racquet competitively.
She has won many titles, coming with it with local, national and international acclaim.
On Sunday she will have a momentous experience, playing in the regular draw of the French Open on the world-famous Roland-Garros courts in Paris.
She is now in Paris.
Embree e-mailed, saying, “I arrived in Paris around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. It is sunny and about 72 degrees. We are staying at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe. They have a players desk in the lobby which is very helpful for knowing how to get back and forth from the site, how to book practice courts and more. We are heading over to Roland-Garros now to recieve our credentials, and get a light practice in.”
At its French Open Web site, the countdown to the opening rounds continues, with Friday being an important day. That is when the draws are announced and Embree will know who her first opponent will be.
“I could play anyone, from a famous player to one of the lower seeds,” Embree said. “I’m feeling great going into the Open. I want to try to take it as any other tournament, but that will be difficult. Especially if I play on one of the main courts and the opponent is well known.”
Embree, 18, earned her way into the main draw by winning the USTA French Open Wild Card Tourney in Boca Raton. The tourney was invitation only. In the draw of 16, the top 11 USTA Juniors competed. Only the winner earned the wild card.
In the finals Embree won the first set, 6-4 and jumped off to a 2-0 lead in the second before Nicole Gibbs made her charge. Gibbs won four straight games, taking a 4-2 lead, but Embree rallied back, forcing a seven-point tiebreaker. Embree controlled the tie breaker, winning 7-2.
Embree was already scheduled to play in the French Open Juniors after the major tournament. She is seeded sixth in the Juniors and seventh in the world.
Traveling with her is dad Keith, mom Nancy, and brother Keith. Lauren and Keith each won Class 2A State Tennis singles championships, while Lauren also won doubles with partner Cate Ahlstrom.
Embree, who is graduating from Lely High, will be on the University of Florida team. Her coach, Roland Thornqvist, will watch her play in the French Juniors.
“Everyone is excited about me playing in the regular draw,” Embree said. “I plan on taking it all in and having a fun experience.”