McEnroe plays in Cayman

John McEnroe and some of the greatest tennis players from the past are lined up for a tournament at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman next month.

New York based company InsideOut Sports & Entertainment has announced that Mats Wilander, Mikael Pernfors and Paul Haarhuis will round out the international field of eight players at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships from April 16-20.

InsideOut also announced the round-robin group pairings and match schedule for the clay-court event, one of the two new events on the 2008 Outback Champions Series tennis circuit.

Wilander joins fellow world No. 1 players McEnroe and Jim Courier as well as former US Davis Cup standout Jimmy Arias in Group A, while Haarhuis, the Outback Dubai tournament winner last year, and Pernfors are in Group B along with Todd Martin, the year-end No.1 in the 2007 Stanford Champions Rankings, and Olympic silver medalist Wayne Ferreira.

Grand Cayman’s Residences is the second of eight events on this year’s Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events around the world featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30.

The event features $150,000 in prize money with an undefeated winner taking home $54,000. Players also compete for Champions Series points that will determine the Stanford Champions Rankings year-end No. 1 and the winner of a $100,000 year-end bonus.

All Champions Series events feature eight-man round-robin match formats with the winner of each four-player division meeting in the title match while second place finishers in each division meet in the third-place match.

Founded in 2005, the 2008 Outback Champions Series features eight events where champion tennis players exercise their competitive instincts in tournament formats that feature prize money and Champions Series ranking points that determine a year-end No. 1 player.

To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have either; reached a Grand Slam singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. Each event also has the right to choose a ‘wild card’ entrant.

Wilander won seven career major singles titles, including three French Open titles (1982, 1985, 1988) and thee Australian Open titles (1983, 1984, 1988).

In 1988, he completed one of the greatest years in the history of tennis at the U.S. Open, where he defeated Ivan Lendl in a five-set final for his third of four Grand Slam tournament titles for the year and the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career. Wilander won 33 career singles titles during his career and helped Sweden to the Davis Cup title in 1984, 1985 and 1987.

Pernfors, who finished in fourth place in the first event on the 2008 Outback Champions Series in Naples, Fla., is best known for his run to the singles final at the 1986 French Open, where he defeated Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker before losing to Ivan Lendl in the final. He won three ATP singles titles including the Canadian Open in 1993 where he came from 2-5 down in the third set to defeat Martin in the final. Pernfors helped Sweden to the Davis Cup final in 1986 and won back-to-back NCAA singles titles for the University of Georgia in 1984 and 1985.

Haarhuis, a former world No. 1 doubles player and a wild-card entry into the event, will be appearing in his second Outback Champions Series event after winning the title in Dubai last year, defeating Courier in the final. A quarterfinalist at the 1991 U.S. Open, Haarhuis won a career Grand Slam in doubles (six total Grand Slam men’s doubles titles) including Wimbledon in 1998 and the US Open in 1994.

Tickets begin at just $15 and can be purchased online at www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or by calling 877-322-TIXX (8499) or 954-241-7936. On Grand Cayman, tickets may be purchased online or at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club, The Ritz-Carlton Lobby real estate desk or at Winner’s Circle Sportswear. Packages, including VIP tournament passes and Ritz-Carlton accommodations, are available at www.RitzCarlton.com/GrandCayman.

An exclusive Racquet Fever package is also available and includes a five-night stay in a fully-furnished oceanfront Residence at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; Legends Championships Gold Box Seats for two; Legends Champions Club VIP Lounge access, inclusive of all food and beverage; and other VIP and exclusive offerings. For more information, visit www.legendsgrandcayman.com.

‘When you combine the high level competitive tennis from the legends of the sport with the paradise and luxury of The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, you have all the ingredients of a gem at a sporting event,’ said Jon Venison, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sport & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series. ‘We are all greatly anticipating bringing the Outback Champions Series to the Caribbean and staging what will be one of the most prestigious tennis events ever in the region.’