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Legends of Tennis Visit, Compete at Liberty

October 17, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Professional tennis icons John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Andy Roddick and James Blake spent the day at Liberty, sharing their experiences during Convocation and competing in the PowerShares Series tournament on Monday night at the Vines Center.

The Liberty men's and women's tennis teams had the opportunity to meet Chang and McEnroe after Convocation. Chang, in a panel discussion with McEnroe, Roddick and Liberty Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development David Nasser, shared about his faith during Convocation and when he met with the teams.

"The PowerShares event was an incredible experience for our team," said Liberty Women's Tennis Head Coach Jeff Maren. "We had the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest players in our sports and were entertained by their skills and charisma as well. As coaches, we gleaned from our personal conversations with them about practice habits and the mental aspect of the game."

Chang captured the 1989 French Open title as a 17-year-old, the youngest male player to ever win a Grand Slam singles title. He discussed what it looked like to live out his faith on the professional tour and how he leaned on Christ during the toughest challenges of the 1989 French Open.

The Vines Center was converted into a professional tennis arena for the day, as the former pros competed on Monday evening. Roddick, the last American to win a Grand Slam title (2003 US Open) and Blake, the former No. 4 player in the world, squared off in a one-set semifinal, won, 6-3, by Blake.

"Having these tennis legends at Liberty was great," stated Liberty men's tennis senior Diego Castano. "I've seen Roddick play before, so it was good see him. I think having them here let everyone see how great the sport of tennis is."

Chang, the former No. 2 player in the world, and McEnroe met in the other semifinal, a match won, 7-5, by the 58-year-old McEnroe, who captured 155 ATP titles during his illustrious career.

"It was such a cool opportunity for our whole team. Not only did we get to watch some fun matches, but we got to hear some inspiring stories," said Liberty women's tennis senior Evangeline Crist.

Blake topped McEnroe, 6-3, in the final.