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Former Champions Return for Family Circle Cup 35th Anniversary Celebration

March 18, 2008 11:06 AM

The Family Circle Cup’s 35th Anniversary Celebration will offer an action-packed week of unforgettable moments, both on and off the court, designed to honor the historical significance of this premier event on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Some of the most celebrated women to play the game including Rosie Casals, titlist at the inaugural Family Circle Cup in 1973, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Conchita Martinez, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati and Iva Majoli will be present to mark this important milestone in women’s tennis. Adding to the excitement of this world class event, this distinguished group of retired Family Circle Cup champions will take part in various activities at the tournament highlighted by a special on-court “Parade of Champions” ceremony emceed by legendary tennis commentator Bud Collins on Saturday, April 19th. The Family Circle Cup, boasting six of the Top 10 players in the world including Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic, Anna Chakvetadze, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, and Marion Bartoli, will celebrate its 35th Anniversary April 12-20th at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

“With eight former champions returning for our 35th Anniversary Celebration, and four active champions competing in this year’s player field, the 2008 Family Circle Cup is sure to create many unforgettable moments for our fans,” said Robin Reynolds, Family Circle Cup Tournament Director. “Spectators will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the iconic players who’ve laid the groundwork to make this event the shining star it is today, as well as world class tennis all week long.”

From a historical perspective, few tournaments can compare to the Family Circle Cup, an event that began in 1973 and over the past 35 years has been the site of numerous record-setting moments in women’s tennis. The tournament will begin the week long celebration during the Tuesday, April 15th Night Session with a 35th Anniversary Kick-Off event featuring a rousing fanfare performance by the Burke high School Band, a formal introduction of the entire 2008 Family Circle Cup player field, and post-match fireworks.

To celebrate the tournament’s legacy, many of our former champions will be on-site from Thursday, April 17th through Sunday, April 20th taking part in fan-focused activities like stadium court interviews and autograph sessions. Semifinal Saturday will kick-off on the Grand Lawn with an exciting new off-court event featuring legendary tennis columnist Bud Collins aptly named “Breakfast with Bud” beginning at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 19th. Food Court vendor Barbara Jean’s will be treating fans to breakfast from 10:00 -11:00 am. Collins will spend an hour interviewing a selection of former Family Circle Cup champions on the AT&T Fan Zone stage before play begins in Family Circle Magazine Stadium at 11:00am. Fans will also be given a unique opportunity to interact with Bud Collins and their favorite players through a question and answer session.

The Family Circle Cup 35th Anniversary Parade of Champions is set to begin on Family Circle Magazine Stadium court immediately following the second match on Saturday, April 19th. Emceed by Bud Collins, this ceremony will include formal introductions of each champion as they make their entrance onto stadium court. The former champions scheduled to appear include inaugural Champion Rosie Casals (1973), 8-time Champion Chris Evert (1974-1978, 1981, ’84, and ’85), 4-time Champion Martina Navratilova (1982, ’83, ’88, 1990), 2-time Champion Conchita Martinez (1994-1995), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1996), Mary Pierce (2000), Jennifer Capriati (2001) and Iva Majoli (2002) will be honored as proud champions of this historic tournament.

A special tribute honoring Lee Jackson, a woman whose contribution of nearly 30 years in women’s professional tennis as a referee and umpire, will be held following the third match on Family Circle Magazine Stadium court. During the ceremony, a plaque will be unveiled that will be attached to the umpire chair for years to come to remind everyone of her spirit and overwhelming love of the game.

The 2008 Family Circle Cup, America’s oldest Tier I event, will be held April 12th - 20th at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, South Carolina. The Family Circle Tennis Center is a public facility owned by the City of Charleston and operated by Family Circle Magazine that hosts a variety of events including concerts, festivals, tennis events and other special activities throughout the year. With over 21 million readers, Family Circle is one of the most widely read monthly magazines in America and is one of 14 leading subscription magazines owned by Meredith Corporation. The Tennis Center features a 10,200 seat stadium, a Grand Lawn, 17 tennis courts lighted for night play, a racquet club featuring a full service Pro Shop, and locker room facilities. For more information about the Family Circle Cup or Tennis Center, call (843) 856-7900 or visit www.familycirclecup.com.




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