On Friday, all-time tennis great Mats Wilander will conduct a tennis clinic at the Cleveland Country Club. Wilander is a legend in tennis as he is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Wilander, a native of Vaxjo, Sweden, will conduct two sessions from 2-5 p.m. on Friday, with 16 players, eight in each session, getting instruction from him.
Milena Araujo, Director of Tennis at the Cleveland Country Club, said her and John Cox went to Wilander’s clinic WOW at Perry Creek in Grenada and was impressed with the clinic.
“It was a great experience,” Araujo said. “We thought that it would be great to bring Mats to Cleveland to give our tennis players the opportunity to meet and be on the court with Mats. The club found dates when Mats would be in Mississippi and closed with him. Now, we are having a member of the international tennis Hall of Fame coming to Cleveland.”
During Wilander’s career, he won seven major singles titles and major doubles title. He’s won the Australian Open (1983, 84, 88) and French Open (1982, 85, 88) three times, and the US Open once (1988) in singles competition. He also won at Wimbledon in doubles action in 1986 with Joakim Nystrom. In 1988, his success made him the number on player in the world. Wilander finished his career with 33 titles overall with a match record of 571-222. Among Wilander’s rivals during his era were Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Jimmy Connors.
Cox, who is the President of USTA Mississippi, said having some of Wildander’s caliber come to Cleveland is a once in a lifetime experience.
“A lot of times, you read about these fantasy tennis camps or fantasy camps in any sport where you get to go play the sport and learn from the world’s best, but you have to go travel to them,” Cox said. “It’s neat that we have a player of Mats Wilander’s caliber and pedigree where he’s coming to us. He will be the best tennis player that has ever been in Cleveland, Mississippi.”
Wilander’s clinic will be conducted a day before the club’s inaugural Delta Open, which will be played on Saturday and Sunday. After the clinic, people will have to meet Wilander at the players party on Friday.
“Folks in Cleveland will take the clinic and many more will shake hands and meet someone that has been at the top of the tennis world,” Cox said.
“It’s hard to find some who’s done what he’s done. He’s a personable guy, and he’s approachable. He travels around, and he wants to take a sport that has given him so much and take it to the masses.”
The Delta Open is another highly anticipated event as approximately 65 teams equaling over 120 tennis players from all over the state will be competing this weekend.
“I’m very excited to have a big tournament at the club,” Araujo said. “People from all over the state is coming. It’s also a good chance for people to meet Mats.”
Cox is proud of the reception the tournament has gotten.
“This is as large of a tennis tournament as we’ve had in Cleveland in quite sometime,” Cox said. “Hopefully, it’s something we just build on every year. Of course, we’re not going to have Mats Wilander every year, but it’s something that if you build it they will come. It’s a great opportunity to showcase Cleveland and showcase the Delta and tennis.”