UNO Hosts NOLA’s First Professional Tennis Tournament Since 1988

Professional women’s tennis returns this week to the Crescent City for the first time since 1988, as the University of New Orleans hosts the PJ’s Coffee Women’s International Tennis Classic at the University Tennis Center in Gentilly.
 
The event, which runs July 22-29 at the tennis center at 6500 Press Drive, is Louisiana’s lone professional tournament for the 2012 year and will feature women’s professional players from around the world competing for Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) world ranking points.  The 26-court tennis center re-opened in 2010 and features six red clay courts and 20 hard courts.

The group of players includes Japanese 19-year old Sachie Ishizu, who finished as the girls' singles runner-up at Wimbledon in 2010. The tournament will feature some of the best up-and-coming professionals in the world.  Several local junior and college players will also have an opportunity to compete in the tournament as amateurs.
 
The tournament, which is part of the USTA Pro Circuit features a $10,000 prize to the winner.

Though these events typically draw players ranked No. 100 through 300 in the world seeking to bolster their WTA ranking, they serve as the springboard to successful professional careers.  Past participants in similar events have included Mardy Fish, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, James Blake and Li Na.
 
The event also includes a free tennis clinic for children aged 6 to 18. The clinic will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, with registration available by e-mailing Abrie du Plooy at tennis4duphooy@hotmail.com.
 
The tournament is also seeking ball boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 18 for the finals weekend of July 28 and July 29. Interested individuals can contact Kelly Juneau at kellyjuneau@aol.com.
 
Tickets to the tournament are on sale and available at the Tennis Shop of Metairie (4931 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie), Second Serve Tennis Center (3951 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie) or at FutureTennis.com. The cost of a ticket is $15 per person for the three-day finals weekend (July 27-29). Children will be admitted free July 22-26.
 
All individuals who purchase the tickets will receive free beverage and snack during the finals, one hour of free court time at the University Tennis Center, a 20 percent discount for any clothing purchase at TASCPerformance.com and $10 off any tournament, camp, lesson or event hosted by Future Tennis Inc. excluding the PJ's Coffee Women's International Championship.

The city of New Orleans last hosted an event featuring points for the WTA Tour in 1988. Chris Evert won three of five of the Virginia Slims tournaments in New Orleans while Martina Navratilova claimed the remaining two.

Keep up with tournament news by visiting the UNO Privateers website.
 
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
July 22-23 • Qualifying Starts
July 24 • Main Draw starts at 9 a.m.
July 25 • Main Draw starts at 9 a.m.
July 26 • Main Draw starts at 9 a.m.
July 27 • Main Draw starts at 9 a.m. (Singles Quarterfinals/Doubles Semifinals)
July 28 • Free Kids Clinic (9 to 10:30 a.m.) • Main Draw starts at 10:30 a.m. (Singles Semifinals/Double Final)
July 29 • Singles Final at 12:30 p.m.