Serving up for charity

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by LYNNE HIGGINS, Tennis Columnist

Last Thursday, I happened to catch the E! network showing of "Serving for Tsunami Relief," a benefit sponsored by the Tennis Channel, which, as you know, is unavailable in the Oak Park/River Forest /Forest Park area. (The Tennis Channel will be featuring an all-day marathon airing of its "Serving for Tsunami Relief" special on Thursday. If you have friends who are lucky enough to get the Tennis Channel, maybe you can ask them to tape or Tivo any three hours during that day.) The three hour charity event was filmed on Jan. 31 in Houston, Texas, and all of the proceeds collected will go through the "Clinton-Bush Tsunami Relief Fund" to victims of the disaster in Southeast Asia.

Apparently, the popular tennis pro Jim Courier was the force behind the exhibition and was able to recruit an all-star roster of tennis stars, such as John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Andy Roddick, Anna Kournikova and Tommy Haas. The amateur side was very competently represented by NBA star Clyde Drexler and Dr. Phil McGraw. Singles matches pitted McEnroe against Courier (with Dr. Phil serving as chair umpire), and Roddick versus Haas. In the doubles exhibition matches, McGraw & Kournikova played against Evert & Drexler, and later McEnroe and Kournikova took on Evert and Roddick. The players were "miked" and the cross court banter was as entertaining as the sets of tennis. In attendance was tennis aficionado and co-chairman of the aforementioned relief fund, former President George H.W. Bush accompanied by Mrs. Bush. Nice to know that tennis personalities are thinking globally!

KUDOS ...

... to the following players who have been ranked as follows in the Chicago District Adult/Senior Section:

Marvin Cohen (Oak Park)?..#3 in Men's 60 Singles

Dennis Karras (River Forest)?..#1 in Men's 65 Singles

Paul French (OPTC)?..#2 in Men's 75 Singles

Walter Horwich (River Forest)?..#3 in Men's 75 Singles

John Cavenagh (OPTC)?..#1 in Men's 80 singles

Hattie Grimsley (Oak Park)?..#3 in Women's 50 Singles

These are the 2004 Final Adult Singles Rankings by the Chicago District Tennis Association. The ranking year is from January 1 to December 31. To be considered for a Chicago District ranking, a player must play and complete a minimum number of CDTA sanctioned tournament in one age group. Adult tournaments are offered in different age groups, NTRP, mixed doubles, parent/child, senior divisions (35 and over) and open play. For more information, contact CDTA at 847-803-2382 or www.network.usta.com.

TRY IT ... YOU'LL LIKE IT

Here's a great opportunity to check out some new tennis equipment. On Saturday, March 5, the Tennis and Fitness Centre will be hosting a "Wilson Demo Day", from 7 p.m. ?#34; 10 p.m. As the leading racket brand on the ATP and the WTA Tour, Wilson is sure to bring the latest in racket technology for you to try out as you participate in drills or open play at the Centre. You'll also be able to test your serving speed against a radar gun. Prizes will be awarded and the Club will supply pop and beer. Guests are asked to bring a dish to share. The event is free to members, but open to the public for $20 per person. Sounds like a fun night out, and it can't hurt to try out some new equipment! If you've been playing with the same racket for years, you'll be amazed at the difference that new equipment can make in your game. And, it may turn out that any physical problems you've been having are caused by using the wrong racket. The Tennis and Fitness Centre is located at 301 West Lake Street in Oak Park and you can make a reservation by calling 708-386-2175.

67 ... BUT WHO'S COUNTING?

As of today, 67 days until May 1st, beginning of the 2005 outdoor tennis season!

E-mail: Higgins721@aol.com

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