Little Rock Gearing Up for a Week of Exciting Tennis Action

March 31, 2003 03:24 PM

The 2003 St. Vincent Auxiliary USTA Men's Professional Tennis Tournament will be played at the Rebsamen Tennis Center in Little Rock, AR. This is a hard court tournament and will feature a 32-singles and a 16-doubles draw.

Proceeds from the tournament and its associated events benefit the St. Vincent New Outlook Women’s Cancer Recovery Program. New Outlook helps women and their families overcome the challenges they face when fighting cancer. New Outlook opened in April 1996 and has provided services free of charge to thousands of men and women throughout the state regardless of where they received medical treatment. The tournament is expected to raise $35,000.

The qualifying round of play starts on Friday, April 4 with the main draw starting on April 7. Total prize money for this event is $15,000, with the winner taking home $1,950.

St. Vincent’s Auxiliary and Rebsamen Tennis Center has sponsored this Professional Tennis tournament for 23 years, making it the longest running USTA Circuit Tournament in the nation. It is a major fundraising source for many health related initiatives to help Arkansans. In recent years the sponsorship and fundraising activities have been designated for the New Outlook Women’s Cancer Recovery Center. Last year, New Outlook served over 3,000 people by providing wigs, breast prosthesis, mastectomy bras, dietary counseling, makeup, hairstyling, support groups and fitness assistance to name a few.

Introducing tennis to the Little Rock community is one of the main goals of the tournament staff. Therefore, there are several community tennis events associated with the tournament, including:

  • A Kids N’ Pros afternoon (Sunday, April 6th at 2 pm) - Sixty children will participate in a clinic with the pros. Each boy and girl will play, hit balls and receive instruction with pros from around the world and the USA who are playing in the tournament and will receive tee shirts and a racquet. The children are also eligible to participate in an eight-week tennis camp this summer.
  • Pro Am Tournament (Monday, April 7th, 1-4 pm) - Twenty-five amateur men and women will be paired with pros in a mini tournament. To enter the Pro Am all amateur players are asked to contribute a donation benefitting the New Outlook Cancer Recovery program.
  • “Pizza, Pasta n’ Pros Party" (Monday, April 7th, 6:30-9 pm) - Guests, sponsors, pros and the general public are invited to attend an informal event to meet the pros, participate in a karaoke contest and a silent auction and receive door prizes. Admission is $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for kids under 16. All proceeds go to the New Outlook Women’s Cancer Recovery Center. This event will be held at the YWCA at 1200 Cleveland St. in Little Rock.

“We may discover the next Venus Williams or Andre Agassi and this event opens that door” says Tim Orellano, Tournament Chair.

Anyone interested in this event should call the Rebsamen Tennis Center at 501-664-0736.

The USTA organizes, sponsors and administers the USTA Professional Circuit, the gateway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis professionals and a frequent battleground for established players. The 2003 circuit features nearly 100 events for men and women. Prize money at USTA Professional Circuit events range from $10,000 to $75,000, with more than $3 million in total purse. Players also earn valuable ATP and WTA tour ranking points.

Futures tournaments are typically the proving ground for top ranked juniors, college players and pros at the beginning of their careers. Players in these events typically have ATP Entry System rankings between No. 500 and No. 150