The 28th annual Cajun Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament comes to Baton Rouge March 22-26 with 115 professional and amateur players from 19 countries and 23 states slated to compete.
At noon Saturday, March 25, the Baton Rouge Wheelchair Tennis Association and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will host "Baton Rouge Day at the Cajun Classic" to recognize the Baton Rouge-area amateurs and to welcome the entire field from around the world.
Tournament play begins on Wednesday, March 22, and continues through the finals on Sunday, March 26, at the Paula G. Manship YMCA Lamar Tennis Center, 8100 YMCA Plaza Drive, Baton Rouge.
Admission to the tournament is free-for-all days and matches, including the finals. Tournament play begins at 8 a.m. daily and continues into the evenings until all matches are completed.
On the professional side, the tournament will feature 13 top International Tennis Federation stars, including:
- Six of the top 10 women: ITF World No. 3 Diede de Groot, No. 5 Marjolein Buis and No. 6 Aniek van Koot, all of the Netherlands; No. 8 Lucy Shuker, of the United Kingdom; No. 9 Katharina Kruger, of Germany; and No. 10 Kgothatso Montjane, of South Africa;
- Three of the top 10 men: ITF World No. 6 Alfie Hewett, of the United Kingdom; No. 7 Stefan Olsson, of Sweden; and No. 8 Maikel Scheffers, of the Netherlands.
- Four of the top 10 quadriplegics: ITF World No. 2 David Wagner, of the United States; No. 3 Andy Lapthorne, of the United Kingdom; No. 4 Lucas Sithole, of South Africa; and No. 7 Bryan Barten, of the United States.
“We are ready and excited to host this competitive field of amazing athletes, which ranges from the world-ranked professionals to the novice players who are playing in their very first tournament," said tournament director Jennifer Edmonson. "This unique combination of skills and competition makes the Cajun Classic one of the most inclusive and interesting tournaments of its kind in the world.”
Edmonson said the Cajun Classic also welcomes nine Baton Rouge area competing amateurs Max Barbier, Karin Johnson, Brandon Jones, Amanda Kirkwood, Katie LeBlanc, Victoria Odom, Alex Saporito, Glenn Singletary and Safwan Sulaiman.
Jerry Stovall, president of the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation and longtime supporter of the Cajun Classic, said BRASF is sponsoring the Baton Rouge players’ entry fees again this year.
The tournament is presented by the Greater Baton Rouge Community Tennis Association and is produced by the Baton Rouge Wheelchair Tennis Association, a nonprofit, volunteer board that raises funds for the required prize money, ITF-badged referee and umpire fees, meals, drinks, transportation, accommodations at the host hotel, player party, programs and wheelchair repair station. The tournament is sanctioned by the ITF and the United States Tennis Association and is part of ITF’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, where players compete for more than $1 million in prize money in tournaments throughout the world. The rules of wheelchair tennis are the same as regular tennis, except the ball is allowed to bounce twice.
For more information, including how to donate, visit brwta.org/cajun-classic or call (225) 939-4086.