Professional Tennis Returns To New Orleans

September 18, 2006 10:58 AM

The WOW Tennis Center on the University of New Orleans campus hosted one of the first professional sporting events since Hurricane Katrina. The tournament was held September 11th through September 17th.

Cecil Mamiit of the Philippines had a very successful weekend winning the singles tournament with a win over #3 ranked Michael Russell in the first round and #1 ranked Amer Delic in the finals. Mamiit also competed in the doubles tournament with partner Sam Warburg (USA). The pair defeated #1 ranked Chris Drake and David Martin in the semis to claim the title.

On Opening Day, September 11th, all men in uniform received free admission and a meal. The Opening Ceremonies were conducted by the Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, and the Mayor of New Orleans Mayor Nagin. The top ranked doubles team in the world, Mike and Bob Bryan, made an appearance at the tournament even though they were not playing. They held clinics and some lucky fans were able to play tennis with them prior to their exhibition on Thursday evening, which was followed by a raucous autograph session.

Ticket sales directly benefited three charities: St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of New Orleans and Keep Children Playing- an educational program to replace physical education equipment lost during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.