When worldwide tennis superstars rolled into Cayman last month, they brought considerably more than their racquets and very best shots; they took time to mould Cayman’s future tennis players.
A variety of intercontinental stars in the last two decades headlined the 2011 edition from the KPMG Legends Tennis tournament in the Residences in the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman.
Swiss sensation Martina Hingis and her American counterpart Jennifer Capriati headlined the three day tournament which raised thousands for junior tennis and the Cayman Crisis Centre. Jimmy Arias, the perennial favourite, came once more, Chanda Rubin for the first time and it was good to see Nick Bollettieri inspiring the children as he always does. Credit should really visit Ritz-Carlton developer Michael Ryan for meshing it all together once more.
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Nearby juniors like Simon Butler, James Priaulx, Callum Theaker and Daniel Reid also got a opportunity to play in a huge tournament atmosphere. It was also nice to see Panav Jha, the stand-out teenager hoping to pursue a career as a pro, playing within the singles here.
Hingis teamed up with Australian heavy hitter Mark Philippoussis and claimed the mixed doubles title, a new feature for the tournament, although veteran Wayne Ferreira was the singles winner. The incredibly skilful Hingis was a best compliment towards the power of Philippoussis, who at occasions for the duration of the competition unleashed his trademark serve. When the pros weren’t on court they took time out to perform with quite a few students and for the very first time within the tournament’s ten year history additional than 1,350 students got the opportunity to the watch tournament action free of charge; a master stroke by the tournament organisers to involve far more of the Cayman community inside the sport.
Dan Kneipp, the tournament director, said: “The interest in this year’s competition was evident in each evening session with thousands of locals soaking within the best level tennis along with the theatrics of Murphy Jensen and Arias who were guest umpires when not playing.
“Not lost in the lively atmosphere was the have to have for the competition to have a charitable element – and once more the Cayman Crisis Centre benefitted from the proceeds of a silent auction.
“So while the significant name tennis stars drew the crowds and changed the lives from the juniors the KPMG Legends Tennis tournament left a further indelible mark with its community service.”