Ritz Legends will smash up Branson soon

Some of the biggest names in tennis will be competing in Grand Cayman again soon along with a golf legend and business tycoon.  

The Legends Tennis Championship will be hosted at The Ritz-Carlton tennis courts from 30 October to 3 November and will include former greats Martina Hingis and Stefan Edberg, along with Sir Richard Branson and Greg Norman battling it out in the celebrity doubles.  

Over the past 11 years, Legends has attracted some of the greatest players in tennis history. This year’s tournament includes six former top ten world-ranked players, including two former world No.1 players, enthralling spectators of all ages. 

Legends is one of the most popular events on the Cayman sporting calendar and this year is no exception.  

The Legends tournament is a non-profit event, with proceeds going to the Cayman Crisis Centre and the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands. Over $15,000 worth of junior equipment will be donated to the Tennis Federation’s junior programme and a raffle with over $15,000 worth of jewellery and prizes will see all proceeds going to the Cayman Crisis Centre.  

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Event founder Michael Ryan said: “We started this event in 2002 and we’re excited to continue growing and building the event. Last year’s tournament saw incredible support for the Cayman Tennis Federation’s junior tennis programme and the Cayman Crisis Centre.  

“This year we continue to work with these two very important organisations and hope that the Cayman community will continue to come out and support them.”  

Ania Milanowska-Sedgley, the executive director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, said: “The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre is a non-profit, charitable organisation, that was established in early 2003. The crisis centre is the country’s first and only organisation that provides emergency shelter and support services for women and their children who are victims of domestic abuse. 

“The money raised during the Legends Tennis Tournament will go directly to fund daily operations and programmes of the crisis centre. We are grateful for the financial help the event has contributed to the centre over the years and we look forward to the 2012 Legends Tennis support.”  

The services include but are not limited to 24h crisis line (943-CICC/2422), Emergency Shelter, After-care Programme, The Children and Youth Programme and the Outreach Programme.  

Edberg and Hingis have between them won 23 singles and doubles grand slam titles. Former world No.4 Iva Majoli from Croatia will make her debut in Cayman. Majoli caused one of the greatest upsets when she beat Hingis in the 1997 French Open final. This year’s lineup includes crowd favourites Murphy Jensen (French Open doubles champion), Jimmy Arias (French Open doubles champion) and Wayne Ferreira.  

The event will include men’s singles, mixed doubles, celebrity doubles and a women’s singles exhibition. 

The 2011 Legends Tennis was sold out and this year’s event is expected to be more popular with the addition of two celebrities going head to head on the court. Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased through Cayman Box Office.  

Free viewing is available for schools and the public on Tuesday 30 October when the Cayman players will battle for qualifying positions. Schools can coordinate a free viewing session for the tournament by contacting the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands at [email protected] 

The Legends tournament is sanctioned by the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands, and it is a goal of the federation, to become more involved in the community and make tennis more accessible to all levels of the community.  

Last year’s Legends Tournament provided 1,200 seats free viewing for juniors and $12,000 worth of Dunlop tennis equipment was donated to aid in the startup of junior programmes across the island. This year it will provide 2,000 free seats to juniors and hopes to make a donation of $15,000 worth in Dunlop tennis equipment to the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands to be distributed to local schools tennis programme.  

In addition, local junior players are given the opportunity to show off their skills on the court, as curtain raisers for the tournament, as well as receiving free tennis lessons from the professionals attending the event.  

According to Jeremy Superfine, president of the Tennis Federation, this raises the profile of tennis in the community and will diversify the local interest in the sport. 

Superfine sees the tournament as playing a vital role in the contribution of funds and equipment, which goes toward raising the standards of tennis in primary schools across the island and in 2011 has provided for a startup tennis programme in Cayman Brac.  

The Legends Tournament will be hosted at The Courts at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, with stadium seating for up to 1,100 spectators each night, an air-conditioned VIP Tent and Players’ Lounge with catering by The Ritz-Carlton and a complimentary bar by Taittinger Champagne.  

With seating around three sides of the court, a view over the ninth green of the Greg Norman-designed Blue Tip golf course and a regular breeze from the Caribbean Sea coming from Cayman’s North Sound, the Legends site is one of the most attractive and intimate tennis stadiums in the world. 

For information on sponsorship or corporate tickets contact [email protected] 

Legends is one of the most popular events on the Cayman sporting calendar and this year is no exception. 

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