Borg, McEnroe headline star-studded field

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 August, 1999, 12:00am

Legends Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will lead a star-studded cast of former champions in November's Cathay Pacific Champions tournament in what will be Hong Kong's last major tennis event of the millennium.

Five-time Wimbledon champion Borg and one-time 'superbrat' McEnroe are two of the most celebrated senior players who will showcase their skills in the indoor tournament from November 3-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai - the first sports event to be held at the venue.

The list of players also includes such greats as former world number one Mats Wilander of Sweden, former French Open champion Yannick Noah, fellow Frenchman Henri Leconte, Iran's Mansour Bahrami, Sweden's Mikhail Pernfors - the 1986 French Open finalist - and former Australian Davis Cup player Peter McNamara.

Cathay Pacific have announced a three-year title sponsorship for the tournament, which is a new Asian Tennis Federation event.

It will feature international players, who between them have won 41 Grand Slam titles.

Richard Doggart of event organisers the Quintus Group, said: 'Cathay Pacific Champions is the first event of its kind to be held in the HKCEC.

'We have all the elements of a great event - a superb venue and some of the best players the world has ever seen.

'We are extremely fortunate to have some of the world's most famous and popular luminaries from the golden age of tennis to grace Hong Kong.

'We know they will dazzle us with their skill and personality, both on and off the court.' Doggart added: 'All are regular players on the Senior Tour and since retiring from the main ATP Tour, have continued to provide wonderful tennis entertainment.' Borg, who has won 11 Grand Slam titles, has been a regular attraction in a 'by-invitation-only' corporate seniors tournament here before, but it will be the first time the public will have the opportunity to see him in action.

It's also be the first time that Swedish great Wilander - winner of seven Grand Slams - will play in Hong Kong.

There's a distinct possibility that Borg could meet McEnroe - winner of seven Grand Slam events including three Wimbledon titles - in a matchup never seen in Hong Kong before.

The eight players will compete in round-robin singles in two groups of four players. The leading four players will advance to the semi-finals.

Organisers are planning to add four other players to the tournament.

Australia's John Fitzgerald and India's Vijay Amritraj, plus two members of the Hong Kong Davis Cup squad will make up the numbers and compete in doubles.

Public ticket sales open on September 18 with prices ranging from $250 to $850.

The event will receive more than six hours of television coverage.

A gala dinner on November 4 will serve as a fundraiser for LEAP, the Life Education Activity Programme, an internationally recognised health awareness programme targeting school children.