Some of the biggest names in tennis will be turning back the clock and doing battle again in Grand Cayman soon and one of them is Goran Ivanisevic.
Mats Wilander, Wayne Ferreira, Mikael Pernfors, Jimmy Arias and Karel Novacek will join Jim Courier, Ivanisevic and Mark Philippoussis in the eight-player field at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships.
It’s organised by InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and will be held April 23-26.
This is the fourth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players aged over 30.
From his home in California, Ivanisevic said: ‘I’m really looking forward to coming to the Cayman Islands, I’ve heard some really nice things about the island.’
The giant Croatian, 37, had a tremendous serve and it is still awesome today.
‘I’ve had problems with my shoulder but if it’s okay then my serve will be fine.’
He is looking forward to passing on tips to tennis fans here. ‘I know the players did some clinics last year and if there is time for me to do so, I will.’
So what has he been doing recently? ‘Well over the past couple of years I have been playing mainly on the European circuit, but I’m happy to be on the Legends tour now.’
Courier won it last year, how does Ivanisevic rate his own chances? ‘Well, there are a lot of strong players going to be in Cayman so it won’t be easy. From my days of playing him, Jim is a very tough opponent to beat so I expect him to still be tough.
‘I predict that the semi-finals will include me, Courier, Philippoussis and maybe Ferreira.’
‘We are looking forward to our second year of Outback Champions Series tennis at The Residences at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman with a terrific field of tennis legends,’ said Jon Venison, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series.
‘This event is the only Outback Champions Series event played on a clay court and will provide for some exciting tennis played in one of the beautiful and luxurious resorts in the world.’
‘We are excited to have the tournament return to here and are eager to share our Caymanian hospitality with these great athletes and visitors alike,’ said Michael Ryan, Ritz-Carlton owner and developer.
‘Sponsoring the Outback Champion Series emphasizes our dedication to the sport and to establishing ourselves as the premier Caribbean tennis destination.’
They will compete in a single knock-out format event, vying for $150,000 in prize money and ranking points that determine the year-end No.1 on the Outback Champions Series.
Courier won the inaugural event defeating Ferriera 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1) in the championship match.
After the first round of matches, The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman will kick off the weekend’s events with a ‘Thursday Night Whites’ and an elegant beach party.
Tickets for these events can be purchased online or at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club, The Ritz-Carlton Lobby real estate desk or at Winner’s Circle Sportswear.
Thursday, April 23
Starting at 3 pm
Wayne Ferreira vs Mikael Pernfors
Mats Wilander vs. Mark Philippoussis
Friday, April 24
Starting at 7 pm
Goran Ivanisevic vs. Karel Novacek
Jim Courier vs. Jimmy Arias
Saturday, April 25
Starting 1 pm
Doubles featuring all four losing quarterfinalists
Goran Ivanisevic/Karel Novacek winner vs. Mats Wilander/Mark Philippoussis winner
Starting at 7 pm
Doubles featuring all four losing quarterfinalist
Jim Courier/Jimmy Arias winner vs. Wayne Ferreira/Mikael Pernfors winner
Sunday, April 26
Starting at 1 pm
Third Place Match