Carlos Moya in the centre with others ahead of the Legends Cup. | Miquel Àngel Cañellas


Play in the third Legends Cup ATP Champions Tour Event at the Palma Sport and Tennis Club gets under way today with a long weekend of top class, exciting and fun tennis in store with some of the current greats of tennis competing in the capital.

Yesterday, tournament director Mikael Landström presented the tournament accompanied by the president of the Balearic Tennis Federation, Toni Ferragut, the president of the Swedish tennis Federation, Thomas Wallen, Palma councillor Eva Frades and tennis legends who are going to be playing, Carlos Moyá, Fernando González, Henri Leconte, Mats Wilander and Mikael Pernfors. This third year of the tournament is going to be very special because, for the first time, it is going to also feature a Friendship Cup, based on Davis Cup rules, between a team of the best male and female under-14 players in the Balearics and Sweden and that gets under way at 10am this morning.

Another highlight is going to be the replay of the French Open final 1988 between Mats Wilander and Henri Leconte, which Wilander won.

All of the players and the federation presidents thanked Mikael Landström for directing the tournament and hosting it at the sports club and they all stressed the importance of getting juniors involved this year. Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal’s new head coach, said that he is more than ready to defend his Palma title having beaten John McEnroe in the final of the ATP Champions Tour tournament in Marbella last week.

The requisites for being entitled to play on this tour are: having been World No.1 during their competitive playing careers, a Grand Slam singles finalist, a singles player in a victorious Davis Cup team and now retired from the ATP World Tour. Carlos Moya, Majorca’s first world number one, said that this year is going to be a tough competition. The final line-up of players is: Mark Philippoussis, Fernando González, Mats Wilander, Tim Henman, Carlos Moyá, Àlex Corretja, Thomas Enqvist, Henri Leconte and Mikael Pernfors and the Legends Cup first round will be played tonight with the finals and play-offs on Sunday evening.

Ferragut said that this tournament is special for a number of reasons. It gives the public the opportunity to watch live tennis in the heart of Palma and to enjoy a very different style of tennis. "Today, it’s all base-line tennis played with immense power. These legends play real, stylish tennis, the kind of tennis we rarely have the opportunity and luxury to see any more. So to be able to have an event of this quality in Palma is an honour and a privilege."

Both he and Wallen said that the Friendship Cup is also going to be very important for those participating. Both men defended the pedigree of their players and Ferragut said that with Spain having won the Davis Cup on numerous occasions, it would be great to see a Balearic team do the same. However, it looks like the Swedish team, which features Bjorn Borg’s 13-year-old son Leo, means business.

Mats Wilander said that playing such a tournament is excellent experience for the kids and that is what young players need plenty of nowadays. "Personally I love it here, so many Swedes in Palma, it feels like home. Tennis has gone through a cycle. In the '80s, Sweden dominated the game, in the '90s' it was the Americans, in 2000 it was Spain and now, here we are in 2017, and the tennis world is dominated by Majorca. It’s great to see the support this tournament gets from the public and the media here in Majorca and, of course, it’s great to play here."

Moya ended by saying that it is a huge privilege and wonderful experience to be able to be playing in front of a home crowd on home soil. "I don’t play so much nowadays so the opportunities are few and far between and to be able to play here where it all started is great for me."