Arguably the biggest event on the Cayman Islands tennis scene is fast approaching.
The Legends Tennis Championship will be hosted at The Courts at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, from 30 October to 3 November. The event will showcase former greats Martina Hingis and Stefan Edberg, along with business tycoon Sir Richard Branson and golf legend Greg Norman in the celebrity doubles segment.
Event founder Michael Ryan says the competition is about benefitting local charities.
“We started this event in 2002 and we’re excited to continue growing and building the event,” Ryan says. “Last year’s tournament saw incredible support for the Cayman Tennis Federation’s junior tennis programme and the Cayman Islands 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.”
The Legends tournament is a nonprofit event with more than $15,000 worth of junior equipment being donated to the tennis federation’s junior programme. There will also be a raffle with more than $15,000 worth of jewellery and prizes and all proceeds go to the crisis centre.
Ania Milanowska-Sedgley, the executive director of the crisis centre, says Legends will keep her group running.
“The crisis centre is a nonprofit, charitable organisation, that was established in early 2003,” Milanowska-Sedgley said. “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 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 support.”
Among the crisis centre services being benefited are the emergency shelter, aftercare and outreach programmes.
During the past 11 years, Legends has attracted some of the greatest tennis players in history. For 2012, there will be six former top-10 world-ranked players, including two former world No. 1 players.
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 will include crowd favourites Murphy Jensen and Jimmy Arias (both are French Open doubles champions) and Wayne Ferreira. Among the competition categories are men’s singles, mixed doubles, celebrity doubles and a women’s singles exhibition.
In 2011, Legends was sold out and this year is expected to be more popular with the addition of Branson and Norman. Ticket prices start at $25 and can be purchased through Cayman Box Office. Stadium seating allows for up to 1,100 spectators each night.
Free viewing is available for schools and the public on Tuesday, 30 October, when the Cayman players will battle for qualifying positions. Schools may coordinate a free viewing session for the tournament by contacting the tennis federation at [email protected]
For information on sponsorship or corporate tickets, e-mail [email protected]