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SLIMS PICKIN’S: CLOSING IN ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP

By Lisa Ellen Smith |

They’ll all be there-Martina, Chris, Helena and 29 other top-ranked women tennis players-to compete in the Virginia Slims of Dallas, scheduled for March 11 through 17 at SMU’s Moody Coliseum.

The Virginia Slims World Championship Series represents a revolutionary concept in women’s tennis, linking major tournaments around the world into a dramatic, year-round competition that leads to the emergence of a world champion.

Of this year’s Dallas competitors, Martina Navratilova has won more prize money than any other professional tennis player, male or female, with career earnings of $8,557,645. Chris Evert-Lloyd holds 132 tournament titles, a record unsurpassed by any player of either sex. And 19-year-old Helena Sukova is one of only two players to beat Navratilova in 1984, shutting her out in the semifinals of the Australian Open. Sukova’s win prevented a record seventh consecutive Grand Slam for Navratilova and the 100th title of her career.

The tournament is presented by RepublicBank Dallas and will benefit the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, which sponsors and promotes tennis events in Dallas and throughout the world. The foundation expects to raise between $200,000 and $300,000 from the tournament. “This is the largest fund-raiser for tennis in the world,” says Nancy Jeffett, president of the foundation.

The Virginia Slims World Championship Series spans four continents and 11 countries. The players with the highest point standings at the end of the series will share in a $1 million bonus pool as well as $150,000 in prize money.

Julia Sweeney, public relations director for the tournament, says, “This year will be unusually exciting because it’s a week before the finals at Madison Square Garden in New York. All the top players will be there. The eyes of the tennis world will be on Dallas.”

Attendance is expected to exceed 70,000, with sellout crowds for the final weekend.

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