"Serena Williams to play in Mark Knowles Charity Invitational"
Four-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams will headline a star-studded Pro-Am Tournament for the 4th Annual Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational.
Williams will play the event at Atlantis, December 4, to help raise funds for charity.
The announcement was made on Thursday by Knowles, from Madrid about 11 a.m. EST, minutes after he and his Canadian doubles partner Daniel Nestor won their quarter-final match to enter the semis of the ATP Tennis Masters Series.
"We are thrilled and excited about this year's event, which we believe will be the best in our history," said Knowles, via the telephone .
"Serena is a player whose stardom reaches beyond the courts. She has been an inspiration to so many young women, and her commitment to this event is a compliment to The Bahamas, a country where she feels very much at home, and is reflective of her generous spirit to help do whatever she can for a worthwhile cause," said Knowles, the ATP top-ranked men's doubles player following his win at the US Open in September.
In addition to Williams, Knowles said they have confirmation of participation from Todd Martin, Scott Davis, Xavier Malisse, Fred Stolle, Tom Gullikson, Nestor, Robbie Ginepri, and fellow Bahamian ATP touring pro Mark Merklein.
The fun-filled weekend activities will include matches among the giants of the tennis world plus Pro-Am matches, a cocktail reception, dinner and live auction, and a chance for a few select juniors to hit with the pros.
"Once again, Atlantis is pleased to host this prestigious event," said Dion Strachan, vice president of resort services. "We believe it is excellent exposure for the island and for the resort as well as supporting a good cause."
Proceeds from the event will go toward Bahamian children's charities and youth sports development.
Knowles is expected to reveal a plan that would eventually make tennis available to every young person in the country who has an interest in the sport.
Other sponsors of the charity event include Tennis Week, Bristol Wines & Spirits, Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd., Oceanic Bank and Trust Ltd., The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, American Airlines, Bank of The Bahamas International and Bank of The Bahamas Trust Limited, Templeton Global Advisors Limited, and HG Christie Ltd.