Nassau, Bahamas – Not content to let their male counterparts enjoy all the fun in the sun in The Bahamas, this year’s Mark Knowles Celebrity Invitational charity event from December 2nd to 5th has drawn 3 repeat female participants; Anna Lena Groenefeld, Sabine Lisicki and Olga Savchuk and a new face, U.S. Federation Cup team heroine, Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands is one of the brightest tennis stars on the WTA Tour and at the perfect age of just 26, she is the future of American tennis. Mattek-Sands has been playing some of the best tennis of her career having reached an all time high singles ranking of #37 by the start of her 2009 season. Despite battling some injuries throughout 2009, she is currently one of the top players not only for the USA, but around the world in both singles and doubles. In 2009, Bethanie and her partner, Petrovic beat the Williams Sisters in a 3hr 18min battle in the 3rd Round of Roland Garros. Mattek-Sands and Petrova were one of only two teams to beat the Williams Sisters in all of 2009. These captivating performances allowed her to climb to a career high #17.
Bethanie was born March 23, 1985 in Rochester, Minnesota to Tim and Heidi Mattek who currently reside in Boca, Florida. Mattek-Sands began playing tennis at age 5 and trained at the world famous Evert Academy and played her first pro event at just 14yrs old (1999.) Mattek-Sands’ outgoing, fun and carefree personality has won her fans worldwide both on and off the court. She is also known for an adventurous sense of fashion with her on court attire and the unique personality she has brought to the game of tennis. Bethanie recently married former college athlete and Phoenix businessman, Justin Sands, in a private beach ceremony in November 2008. She currently trains and resides in Phoenix, Arizona.
Throughout her career, Mattek has accumulated eight (8) Sony Ericcson WTA Tour Doubles Titles; five (5) ITF Women’s Circuit Singles Titles; and three (3) ITF Women’s Circuit Doubles Titles.
Mattek-Sands became the first American to win consecutive live matches — fourth singles and then doubles — to close out a Fed Cup tie since the best-of-five format was adopted in 1995.
Anna-Lena Groenefeld has a current Singles ranking #63 and Doubles ranking #14. She had an outstanding junior career: In 2002 she was the Singles Champion of both the Belgium and Frankfurt International Championships and a finalist at the Orange Bowl. In July 2003, she won the Apple and Eve Newsday Long Island Classic, held in Woodbury, New York, defeating Bethanie Mattek in the final. She is an accomplished doubles player winning the French Open title and reaching the finals at Wimbledon. As a result of her tennis successes in 2003, Groenefeld had achieved the Junior World ranking of #1 in singles and doubles. She received the German Tennis Award in 2008 as “Professional Female Player of the Year”. She was the winner of the 2009 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles crown alongside Mark Knowles
In March 2010 she injured her left foot which kept her out of competition until July 2010.
Has singles wins over Daniela Hantuchova, Alize Cornet and with doubles partner, Patty Snyder, has won several ladies doubles titles.
Anna-Lena is coached by Dirk Dier. Her mother is Marie-Louise (teacher); and her father is Hans (surgeon). She was introduced to tennis at age 5 by father and brother. Anna-Lena graduated from Nordhorn High School in June 2001, and her favorite tournament is Roland Garros. Her other sports interests include handball, and basketba
Sabine Lisicki has a Current Singles ranking #178 . She finished 2009 ranked #23 then injuries plagued her through 2010 starting in Indian Wells and Miami and she did not get back into tournament play until August 2010. Sabine is a member of the German Fed Cup Team, 2008-09.
Coached by father, Dr Richard Lisicki; she also works with Darren Cahill / Adidas. Sabine was Introduced to tennis at age 7 by her father at a club after school. Her favorite shot is the serve; and she likes all surfaces (because they all bring something different to the game). She speaks German, English, Polish, and her favorite book is Lance Armstrong’s autobiography. Sabine likes listening to pop and R&B music, reading and athletics. She is self-described as happy, a hard worker and someone who laughs a lot.
Olga Savchuk has a Current Singles Ranking #149 Doubles #62 . She was born in Donetsk, Ukraine on September 20th, 1987 and now is a resident of Nassau, Bahamas. She plays right-handed and is an up and coming force on the WTA tour. She is a winner of 3 Doubles titles and member of the Ukrainian Federation Cup Team.
Olga is coached by Tomasz Iwanski. Father, Nikolay and mother, Elena. She began playing at age 7 and she speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English. Olga likes spending time with family and friends, resting on the beach, reading, dancing. Her favorite tennis players are Federer, Graf, Sampras; and she also admires Michael Phelps.
The Professional Tennis Exhibition will be held at the National Tennis Centre, Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre at 3.00 p.m. on Saturday 4th December. Admission: Adults $10 and Children Free. Students in school sports shirts Free.
The annual hit with the Pros will take place with junior players selected by Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association at the Exhibition on 4th December at the National Tennis Centre ending with an autograph session with the pros.
The major sponsors to date include: Atlantis Resort & Casino, MDC-Partners, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch Private Bank & Trust; Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd; Serenity Point, Abaco; The Balmoral; The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation; American Airlines; Everkey Global Fund, Odyssey Aviation, Mark Holowesko, The Bahamas Weekly, and The Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture.
The proceeds of the event will go to aid local children’s’ charities. To date over $500,000 has been distributed to various charities.
Tickets are now on sale at the National Tennis Centre, Atlantis Tennis Centre, Village Squash Club, H.G.Christie Ltd. and Lyford Cay School or telephone 242-359-2542.