The 2014 Legends of Tennis event, hosted and managed by the Landfall Foundation for the first time this year, will feature headlining tennis star Lindsey Davenport. Davenport will match up against returning players Rennae Stubs, Jimmy Arias and Luke Jensen.
All money raised by the event goes to local nonprofit organizations, and both the attendees and the players get into the spirit of raising funds for charity, said Charlie Owens, Landfall director of tennis.
“The players really get in the spirit of the event,” Owens said. “Their matches are highly competitive, and they’ll usually donate a racquet to the auction to help out.”
The University of North Carolina Wilmington tennis team is one recipient of funds. A few of its players usually play exhibition matches during the event, and the players help Landfall with seating and other jobs, Owens said.
Two days of tennis matches will take place Friday, Sept. 19 and Saturday, Sept. 20, with an auction party Saturday evening, Owens said. Landfall will auction off a few large items, along with items donated by players, which in the past have included a free lesson with the player and tennis gear.
The Legends of Tennis event began in the early 90s and ran through 2002 uninterrupted. Landfall didn’t host the event again until 2010, but it has taken place every year since, Owens said. The 2013 event drew the biggest turnout, with around 500 people in attendance.
The 2014 event wil be managed by the Landfall Foundation, which formed in 1995 to raise money for and contribute to Wilmington-area nonprofits.
Anyone is welcome, and Landfall is selling four-person courtside seating for $550, including passes to the party. People can also purchase a day pass for bleacher seating for $25.
Sponsors will receive seating, passes to the party and passes to a Saturday morning clinic. Owens will run the clinic, and the players will assist in coaching on the courts. Each will run a court based on a certain skill, such as serves or backhands. Participants will visit all of the courts in rotation.
Landfall’s junior players always benefit from Legends of Tennis, Owens said, by talking to the players, watching them play and even snagging photos and autographs. Many of Landfall’s juniors are trained to be ball boys and girls for the event.
“You always play better tennis after you’ve watched these great players play,” Owens said. “You can’t get any closer to the court than you can during this event. You don’t get this kind of intimacy at the U.S. Open.”