Legends boost Special Olympics

Special Olympics athletes get a chance to raise money for the World Summer Games at the return of Legends of Tennis this weekend.

It has been two years since the Legends Tennis tournament was held here, and this time, it’s at Camana Bay’s Festival Green on Friday and Saturday.

Competition will be in men’s singles, mixed doubles and celebrity doubles. This year’s players are Anna Kournikova, Lindsay Davenport, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Murphy Jensen and Sir Richard Branson.

Mikael Pernfors will play doubles with Davenport on Friday night.

Cayman is sending 28 athletes – its largest delegation ever – to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in July.

The local athletes are committed to raising money for the trip, and Legends Tennis organizers are allowing them a tent to raffle donated items, which include two Cayman Airways tickets.

Jeff Wight, events director for Legends Tennis, said, “As well as the tent for the Special Olympics athletes, we will also have a clinic for them on Saturday at 2:15 p.m., conducted by Murphy Jensen.”

Wight is pleased with how well tickets for the tournament have sold for the 1,100-seat venue.

“A lot of people are looking forward to Legends Tennis making a comeback here,” he said. “Tickets went quickly because some feared they might not be able to see it.”

“We’re excited to have them [players] down,” said Dominic Ross, a project manager at Dart. “Obviously, the big names are a huge attraction, and having that kind of caliber of player in Cayman is a huge plus, a huge bonus for not just locals, but also visitors who want to come out and get a taste for that type of event.”

Wight added that Cayman’s top junior players will have the opportunity to showcase their talents soon after the gates open at 6 p.m. Legends start at around 7 p.m.