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Florence Pro Tennis Tournament to Kick Off with Oct. 11 Community Day

September 25, 2014 04:14 PM
Florence’s professional tennis tournament, the McLeod for Health Florence Open will begin on Saturday, October 11, with a Community Day intended to thank the people of Florence and the surrounding area for their support.  This fun-filled event, which will be held at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. is open to the public free of charge. 

Community Day will begin with a 5K Walk/Run to honor cancer survivors and to support those or who have lost friends and loved ones to the disease.  It was announced earlier that net proceeds from the week-long Florence Open will go to Susan G. Komen Lowcountry to help in the fight against breast cancer.  For several years, Komen Lowcountry has provided major grants to McLeod Regional Health Center to support mammograms, follow-up diagnostic procedures, patient navigation services, and survivor support services, including transportation and child care.  Community Day organizers hope that this opening event will draw cancer survivors and their friends and families and others whose lives have been touched by the disease as well as tennis enthusiasts from throughout the region.

The Walk/Run will be followed immediately by free beginner tennis lessons for adults and children taught by the tennis center staff.  Following that, there will be a wheelchair tennis demonstration match.  Wheelchair tennis is a very fast game that requires amazing dexterity on the part of the players and is a fascinating eye-opener for first-time spectators.  Throughout the day, the McLeod mobile mammography unit will be on hand, the tennis pro shop will allow players to try out demonstration racquets at no charge, and refreshments will be available. 

The day begins at 8:30 am with the Walk/Run; the tennis lessons are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and the wheelchair demo for 11:00 a.m.  Tournament Director and City Director of Tennis Rob Hill said “We hope the public will come out to Community Day and help us get this tournament off to a great start.  As a group, tennis players in this area are committed to community involvement and we hope to make a big contribution to Susan G. Komen and to the overall health of our area residents.  We also want to show that tennis is a great family-oriented sport and a key to lifelong fitness.”   

The week-long McLeod for Health Florence Open will draw some of the best young professional players from around the world to compete for $25,000 in prize money and higher rankings.  With approximately 90 tournaments held annually throughout the country, the US Tennis Association Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals.  The largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, it draws more than 1,000 men and women each year from more than 70 countries to compete in cities nationwide.  Established pros like Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit, and so did some of the sport’s top new players like Americans Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.  Florence, one of the smallest cities on the circuit, was selected to host an event because of its world-class courts, its strong volunteer base, and the generosity of its sponsors. 

Major tournament sponsors include McLeod Health, Pepsi Cola, Raines Hospitality, King Cadillac Buick GMC, Cormell, Streett, and Patterson, Miller Broadcasting, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit, USTA South Carolina, USTA Southern, the Florence Tennis Association, Palmetto Synthetics, NUCOR, the City of Florence, and a large number of area food vendors who are providing meals for players, officials, and guests.

There is no charge for Community Day or for any of other our tournament events, but attendees will have an opportunity to contribute to the tournament in support of Susan G. Komen.