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Eminent Management to revive local tennis with major events sponsoring celebrity professionals
Mats Wilander, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Jim Courier are some of the players to be featured in main events
By AUGUSTO DURAND
April 14, 2005
Washington, D.C.-based Eminent Management Group (EMG), an athletic representation and events promotion company, plans to raise tennis player participation and the sports profile in Puerto Rico with a series of events, fundraisers, and clinics highlighting celebrity professionals starting this month.
EMG was founded in 1999 by Guillermo Morales Rubert, Belinda de la Garza, and Greg Muñoz, three sports educators bent on bringing quality events to the island to help develop local athletes and help childrens charities in the San Juan metro area. Previous events promoted by EMG on the island include the first visit by German right-handed tennis pro with 49 title wins Boris Becker and the speaking event by former Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state and former chairman of the Military Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"We want to attract world attention to the island as a prime tennis venue and will be holding fundraisers to support the Puerto Rico Tennis Association [PRTA] in its efforts to grow its base of talented youngsters who, if adequately trained, can potentially become tennis super stars," Morales Rupert said. EMG sponsors and supporters include Carlos Manuel Quiñones from Garage Isla Verde, Alberto de La Cruz from Coca-Cola, and Gerardo Gil-Bonar from Gil-Bonar Group.
The first main tennis event organized by the EMG was held April 9, at Parque Central in Santurce and showcased the right-handed Swede Mats Wilander competing against current players from Puerto Ricos Davis Cup team. During his career, Wilander captured eight Grand Slam titles (seven in singles) and won 33 career single titles. Among the Top 10 in the American Tennis Association Tour seven times between 1982 and 1988, the year he was ranked No. 1.
Before the matches, the event included a gala tennis fashion show, featuring creations by David Antonio, said Belinda de la Garza, EMG co-founder and fashion coordinator. The event also hosted a sports memorabilia auction of collectors items such as Michael Jordans championship basketballs. Tito Trinidad was present to offer some of his boxing paraphernalia to raise funds for a girl requiring a special-living environment. Proceeds went to benefit "at-risk" children in the San Juan metro area.
During his two-week stay in Puerto Rico, Wilander offered several tennis clinics in various locations in the San Juan metro area. "Mats has agreed to come to Puerto Rico twice more this year, and who knows who he will bring," said Morales Rubert, adding, "Wilander is very focused on the Grassroots Tennis initiative to support children with Down syndrome."
Deportes 13, which broadcasts sports events 24 hours on the Catholic churchs local television channel 13, telecast the Wilander event after it was held because of a nine-day moratorium after the death of Pope John Paul II. Several other EMG main tennis events will be held at José Miguel "Don Cholito" Agrelot Coliseum in Hato Rey.
"Promoter Angelo Medina is very interested in sports. He considers main events such as these [by EMG] an untapped resource for fostering tourism, boosting the economy, and increasing hotel occupancy," Morales Rupert said.
Morales Rupert revealed other celebrity pros EMG will be approaching for its main tennis events on the island are John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Jim Courier.
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.