For the second year running, Marbella is hosting one of the biggest world-class sports events, the Senior Masters Cup, which is currently taking place at the Puente Romano Tennis Club, in the heart of the Golden Mile.
Legendary names in tennis such as John McEnroe and Mats Wilander, who have won seven Grand Slam tournaments, are among the major stars taking part.
Other competitors include Yannick Noah, who won at Roland Garros in 1983; Carlos Moyá, Roland Garros champion in 1998 and former world number one; Albert Costa, who won at Roland Garros in 2002; Pat Cash who was Wimbledon champion in 1987; and Spanish player ‘Pato’ Clavet.
One of the main attractions, of course, is former number one and showman John McEnroe, although in terms of charisma he will be competing with Noah, who is an expert in entertaining the public with his antics and his music. Once again this year the Frenchman is expected to perform in concert for those who purchase a ticket for the VIP Lounge.
However, despite their interactions with the public, the ball boys and girls, the umpires and the press, when the time comes to play tennis the stars leave their jocularity to one side and concentrate seriously on the matter in hand.
Last year those in the stands of the Manolo Santana court at the Puente Romano thoroughly enjoyed seeing Wilander’s astonishing technique, McEnroe’s variety of strokes and the skill of Albert Costa, who beat the Swedish player in the final in a match which resembled an official competition rather than an exhibition game.
“It is incredible to have a list of players like this again in Marbella. I’m really proud that they all wanted to come back, and especially happy that Carlos Moyá will be here. He is a great friend and a fantastic tennis player,” says Costa, who is also the technical director of the competition.
The Senior Masters Cup began on Thursday evening, Pato Clavet took on reigning champion, Albert Costa. Costa fought well in a three-set match, but it was Clavet who took the victory, winning 6-2, 3-6, 10-7. Wilander took on Cash in the other game, one that promised excitement. The two faced eachother in the final of the 1988 Australian Open, where Wilander came out on top, and Cash was not able to make the tables turn this time round as he lost again 6-4, 6-3.
This evening, Friday, it is the turn of Carlos Moyá, who trains Rafa Nadal, he will play Wilander at 6pm, followed by John McEnroe, captain of the American team in the recent Laver Cup, playing Clavet at approximately 8pm.
On Saturday there will be a doubles exhibition match with Noah at 6pm, before the grand final, which is due to take place at 8pm.
The Senior Masters Cup is already a hugely popular event. About 7,000 people attended the inaugural edition, which also took place over three days, and a further 500,000 tennis fans around the world watched it on television.