The KPMG Legends tennis tournament at the Ritz-Carlton courts wrapped up with more stirring action in front of a packed house.
All week long former world best players, celebrities and local junior and senior players entertained with thrilling rallies, deft touches and hilarious banter.
There was more of the same on Saturday, the final day, with Murphy Jensen and Martina Hingis facing Tom Blake and Iva Majoli in the mixed doubles final. With Jimmy Arias as the umpire, laughs in abundance were guaranteed – and ever playful Jensen was the target of most of his quips. With the monthly Laughter Lounge show barely a mile away, Cayman being voted the friendliest nation in the world had a certain resonance.
Nevertheless, both teams were anxious for bragging rights and after initially being well behind, Blake and Majoli clawed their way back to take it to a tie-breaker after the games went to 7-7.
Blake and Majoli won 7-5 to take the match 8-7 but the real winner was the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre for which all proceeds went to. The crisis centre is backed by tournament creator, Michael Ryan, who has supported it since starting the annual Legends event. The event organiser was Dan Kneipp and he too deserves enormous credit for the smooth running.
Hingis earlier played an exhibition match with Ali ‘Tornado’ Black, the 14-year-old world No.1 junior. Hingis won 8-1 but not without having to come through some extremely competitive games. The former world No.1 praised American Black for her tenacity and encouraged her to go on to bigger things. Black was too overwhelmed to say anything to an appreciative crowd at the end.
In the junior final, 12-year-olds Bobby Lomax and Harrison Clough battled it out with Lomax having the edge winning 6-4.
Friday’s matches went on well into the night. In the junior match, John-Ross Clough beat James Priaulx 6-4. Majoli and Blake beat Arias and Black 6-3 in one semi-final of the mixed doubles and in the other semi, Hingis and Jensen beat Wayne Ferreira and Koehler Bogarin 8-5.
In the semi-final of the celebrities doubles, golfer Greg Norman and Stefan Edberg beat Michael Ryan and Hingis 4-3 and tennis fanatic Ryan popped up again to play with Hingis one more time, but could not beat billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and Jimmy Arias, who also won 4-3.
The celebrity doubles was won by Branson and Arias who defeated Norman and Edberg 3-2.
Ryan said: “I really thank the sponsors and organisers for making all this possible and also all the great players who turned up. It is testimony that great players come here and ask to come back.
“Raising funds for the crisis centre is very important.” Ryan encouraged the crowd to buy raffle tickets and give cheque donations to help. He also singled out praise to tennis manufacturers Dunlop for donating $15,000 worth of gear to the junior programme.”
Crisis centre executive director Ania Milanowska-Sedgley made a heart-felt thank you to everyone involved in making the whole event another monumental success.