Friday, September 23, 2016

Exhibition to feature three former No. 1s in doubles

Tennis Channel commentator Mark Knowles interviews Roger
Federer at Indian Wells in 2014. Knowles will return to the Sac-
ramento area, where he starred for the Capitals in World Team-
Tennis, for a doubles exhibition on Oct. 1. Photo by Paul Bauman
   These are tough times for men's professional tennis in Sacramento.
   The Capitals of World TeamTennis folded in 2014 after 28 seasons. A one-night legends tournament starring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Jim Courier lasted one year in 2014. Ditto for the WTT's California Dream in 2015. A Challenger tournament is moving to nearby Stockton next month after 11 years.
   Into the void steps a one-day exhibition featuring three former world No. 1 doubles players on Oct. 1 at the Antelope Community Tennis Center in the Sacramento area.
   Former Capitals Mark Knowles and Brian MacPhie will face Rick Leach and Jonathan Stark in a best-of-three-set match at 4 p.m. All except MacPhie reached No. 1.
   The all-day event, hosted by ex-Capitals coach Wayne Bryan, will begin with a pro-am at 10 a.m. A children's clinic will be held at noon, and top juniors will play exhibition sets at 2 p.m.
   Tickets cost $25, and pro-am spots can be purchased for $500. Sponsorship opportunities and VIP seating also are available. Proceeds benefit the Sacramento Community Tennis Association, whose mission is to help underprivileged children play the sport.
   Leach, 51, Knowles, 45, and Stark, 45, combined for 15 Grand Slam doubles titles. Leach won nine (five men's and four mixed), Knowles four (three men's and one mixed), and Stark two (one men's and one mixed).
  MacPhie, a 44-year-old left-hander originally from San Jose, peaked at No. 22 in men's doubles. He reached five Grand Slam quarterfinals in men's doubles, one with Knowles (2001 U.S. Open).
  Bryan, Knowles and MacPhie were adopted Sacramentans.
  Bryan, the father of doubles stars and identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan, coached the Capitals for 12 of his 13 WTT seasons (Idaho in 1999 and Sacramento in 2002-13). He won three Coach of the Year awards and two WTT titles.
   Knowles, affectionately known as "Knowlzee," played all 12 of his WTT seasons (2001-07 and 2009-13) with the Capitals.The Bahamas native competed on two league championship teams and won three WTT Male MVP awards.
   MacPhie played seven seasons for the Capitals (1996-2002). Known menacingly as "The Hammer," he helped the team win five WTT titles and, like Knowles, earned three league Male MVP awards.
   All four players starred at Pacific-12 Conference schools -- Stark at Stanford, Knowles at UCLA, and Leach and MacPhie at USC,
   To purchase tickets to the exhibition, go to ticketleap.com. For more information, call (916) 757-3739.

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