Camana Bay courts legends of tennis

Camana Bay's Festival Green court will have increased capacity this year.

Celebrity tennis crowd-pleaser Legends at Camana Bay returns next weekend for its 13th year, and its second year organized by Dart at Festival Green. The showcase event, which promises exhibition entertainment, takes place on Feb. 5 and 6.

The event, as its name suggests, brings together legends from the tennis world, featuring Hall of Fame members, Grand Slam champions and former world number ones, for showcase matches that always have spectators entertained and on the edge of their seats. The lineup for this year’s competition includes Anna Kournikova, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, Ashley Harkleroad, Mark Philippoussis and Mansour Bahrami.

Ashley Harkleroad will make her Legends debut.
Ashley Harkleroad will make her Legends debut.

Former world No. 1 doubles player, Kournikova reached a career-high ranking of 8 in 2000, and she has also featured as a trainer on TV’s “The Biggest Loser.” She participated in Legends Tennis last year.

Roddick, a previous world No. 1, is listed in the top 10 of ATP rankings for nine consecutive seasons and holds 36 career titles.

Another previous world No. 1, and inductee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, is Jim Courier, who has 29 career titles.

Ashley Harkleroad holds 13 career titles, has a career-high rank of 39, and joined the Tennis Channel as a commentator in 2012.

Mark Philippoussis was the youngest player to finish in the top 50 players, at age 19. He holds 14 career titles and is former world No. 8.

Mansour Bahrami released an autobiography and an autobiographical movie in 2006, which no doubt include mention of his appearance in the French Open doubles finals in 1989, and his career-high doubles ranking of No. 31 in the world in July 1987.

Action on the court

This year there may be even more of a competitive edge to proceedings when the much anticipated re-match of former world number ones Courier and Roddick takes place on Feb. 5. Also on that date, mixed doubles matches are scheduled with Kournikova and Bahrami vs. Harkleroad and Philippoussis.

On Feb. 6 there will be mixed doubles matches with Kournikova and Courier vs. Harkleroad and Bahrami, as well as the pinnacle match between Roddick and Philippoussis.

Returning crowd-pleaser Andy Roddick is a previous world No. 1.
Returning crowd-pleaser Andy Roddick is a previous world No. 1.

Jeff Wight, Legends event director, said, “It’s a testament to the quality of the event and our facility that three of the 2015 players are returning for 2016: Andy Roddick, Jim Courier and Anna Kournikova. The feedback from the players last year was really fantastic, so we’re delighted that Mark Philippoussis, Ashley Harkleroad and Mansour Bahrami have decided to join us this year too.”

Last year’s event attracted 2,500 people over the two nights, and this year organizers are expecting closer to 3,000 due to increased capacity at the venue.

Mansour Bahrami is known as one of the most entertaining players in tennis.
Mansour Bahrami is known as one of the most entertaining players in tennis.

“In order to continue to grow year-on-year, the tournament promises to be bigger and better than ever in 2016,” said Wight. “The general viewing experience has been improved for both general admission and VIP, thanks to an enhanced viewing area, larger stands and allocated seating, and the total capacity has been increased to over 1,500 people per night – making it one of the largest events hosted in Grand Cayman.”

General admission tickets are $75, or $125 for both nights. Tickets can be purchased from the Discovery Centre in Camana Bay and at Blackbeard’s outlets island-wide. VIP tickets are $350 and include premium seating and entrance to a VIP tent with complimentary food and beverages. For VIP tickets, email [email protected]

Special Olympics Cayman Islands is the chosen charity for the event and representatives will be on hand to raise funds over the two days.