More MS news articles for September 2000

Olympians Davenport, Seles will play MS benefit exhibition match in Denver

September 21, 2000
By Kyle Ringo
Special to the Denver Rocky Mountain News

Colorado tennis fans will have something extra to be thankful for in the final week of November.

Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles will play a charity tennis match at 7 p.m. Nov. 28 at the 8,000-seat Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus.

They also will compete in a doubles match, with Davenport paired with Mary Joe Fernandez and Seles teamed with Alexandra Stevenson. Fernandez and Stevenson will be paired with local celebrities in other doubles action.

Organizers are hoping the MS Tennis Classic, which will benefit the Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, becomes an annual event.

Davenport won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and is favored to repeat in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. She also has three Grand Slam titles to her credit and recently lost the U.S. Open final to Venus Williams. Seles, one of the more popular players in women's tennis, is seeded No. 3 in Sydney.

"They will compete (in the MS Tennis Classic)," said Cliff Buchholz, a local representative of the Women's Tennis Association Tournament Council. "They have a lot of pride, and they take this very seriously.

"They're going to play to win, and I think our fans would like to see that. You will see some very good tennis."

The men's professional tennis circuit had a Denver stop 20 years ago (United Bank Tennis Classic), and the Virginia Slims Tour also came to Denver in the early 1970s, but the city has not attracted the world's elite since then.

Organizers expect a large crowd for the first event of its kind in Denver since Pam Shriver played Martina Navratilova in an exhibition in 1995 at McNichols Arena. More than 20,000 Coloradans are members of the U.S. Tennis Association, which bodes well for attendance.

Sara Fornaciari, an MS Tennis Classic organizer, said Magness is the prefect place for tennis.

"I've never walked into a place that is going to be a finer venue for women's tennis," Fornaciari said. "It's going to be fantastic viewing from anyplace."

Tickets for the MS Tennis Classic cost $35-$150 and are available at the DU box office or at Ticketmaster locations.

In addition to the exhibitions, the Greenwood Athletic Club will sponsor a free youth tennis clinic Nov. 27 from 2-4 p.m. Stevenson will join GAC head pro Steve Campbell in tutoring. Parents may register their children by calling the club at (303) 771-2588.

Multiple sclerosis is a disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. One in 800 Coloradans is affected, and 73 percent are women. The rate of multiple sclerosis in Colorado is one of the largest the United States.