With the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, Baha Mar resort has teamed up with Bahamian tennis legend Mark Knowles to put on the first-ever Baha Mar Cup to raise funds for the affected areas. The fundraising event is set to take place tomorrow evening and wraps up on Saturday, November 9.
Knowles said that it was no-brainer to set up the event and that 100 percent of the proceeds from the event will go towards the relief efforts.
“Well obviously, Baha Mar was planning on having an event because they have always been about giving back to the community in The Bahamas. They reached out to me knowing that I had my own personal event for a number of years and they also had a beautiful tennis community. Obviously when Hurricane Dorian unfortunately hit The Bahamas, it was a no-brainer to partner together and try to set up a great event where we could try and generate as much funds as possible, where 100 percent of the funds will go back to Hurricane Dorian relief and just play a small part and a big role of what it is going to take to get the northern Bahamas back up and running,” Knowles said.
The charity event has attracted some big names in the tennis world. These include Americans Coco Gauff, James Blake, Bob Ryan and Andy Roddick, German Tommy Haas, Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and of course Knowles himself. Knowles said the tennis community is very close-knit.
“They are very excited. One thing about the tennis community is that it is a very close-knit community. Superstars like Andy Roddick reached out to me within five minutes of hearing about the destruction of The Bahamas, and asked if there is anything he can do and so forth. A lot of these guys have their own philanthropic endeavors and they are the first to come and volunteer and give their time. Even better, they love to come to The Bahamas, it is a beautiful place and we call it the most beautiful country in the world and obviously it was impacted severely and we got to do our part to get back,” Knowles said.
The event features a meet and greet, an auction, a tennis clinic, a pro-am tournament, exhibition games and a close out dinner – all at the Baha Mar Racquet Club.
The meet and greet and auction will kick-off the event on Friday night at 7 o’clock. It will feature country music singer Charles Esten, known for his star role in the hit television series, Nashville. He will perform live tomorrow night at this event.
“It’s going to be an exciting weekend. It starts up on Friday evening with the meet and greet and we have a tremendous auction where we got some incredible auction items, so we encourage everyone to come out… We have a beautiful area set up where it’s going to be a nice evening of fun and an opportunity to bid on some nice auction all for a great cause,” Knowles said.
Gauff is a 15-year-old tennis sensation. She won her first World Tennis Association (WTA) singles tournament – Upper Austria Ladies Linz last month. The 68th ranked women’s tennis player in the world broke onto the scene when she became the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon by defeating Venus Williams back in July of this year.
Roddick is a former number one ranked player in the world and won one Grand Slam – the 2003 U.S Open.
Ryan is a doubles player and was ranked number one in 2003 and is currently ranked number 34 in the worked. He has 23 Grand Slam titles.
Sanchez-Vicario is a former world number one ranked player in singles and doubles. She is the holder of 14 Grand Slam titles.
The youth and kids’ clinic will be held on Saturday morning from 9.30 and is free. Following that the amateurs will get their chance to play against the pros. The pros will also be playing in exhibition games on Saturday.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to come out,” Knowles said. “That’s a great opportunity to look forward to. Having the kids out there to finally meet these stars and also have a chance to play with them. In the afternoon we will start with the pro am where some of the amateurs have the opportunity to play some matches with these great pros. After that we will follow up with an exhibition featuring all these great pros.”
Saturday evening will be a farewell dinner to close the weekend out.
The event is set to air on the Tennis Channel later this month.
Baha Mar will host its first-ever Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) tournament, the Baha Mar Futures Cup that begins today and ends on Sunday, November 10.
Interested persons can visit https://bahamar.com/tennis-cup/ for more information.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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