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Tennis And Basketball Stars Unite For A Good Cause At Fourth Annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic In Dallas • 10sBalls

Left to right – Dwight Powell, Steve Nash, Mitchell Kruger, Boris Kodjoe, John Isner, Mark Knowles, Tommy Haas, Dirk Nowitzki, Kurt Spahn (?), Devin Harris, JJ Barea, Luka Doncic. Photo by Thomas Cluck.

By Thomas Cluck

It was a sunny and steamy Sunday in Dallas at SMU with an excited crowd, amateur participants, top Dallas Mavericks and basketball stars, and some of the world’s best tennis players of past and present gathering together for the fourth annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic. 

Again coming together at the SMU Tennis Complex in University Park in Dallas, Texas, former NBA and Mavericks great Nowitzki, an avid tennis fan and player now in retirement, brought together the basketball and tennis worlds for an exciting charity tennis pro-am exhibition event- all for a good cause, supporting the work of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation here in Dallas.
“This is our big fundraiser for the year. We had a great dinner last night. Thanks to all the sponsors and of course supporters,” said Nowitzki. “We’ve got some great stuff last year with support a lot of local projects. So of course we’re we’re thrilled to do this event again.”

“Having the support of celebs, to fly in from across the country- Tommy [Haas] told me how he actually took a red eye to be here in and landed like 7 AM • so the support from everybody means the world ,” commented Nowitzki.

After retiring from basketball after 21 seasons in the NBA, an NBA Championship with the Mavericks, and an NBA Finals MVP award, Nowitzki now has more time to focus on his tennis game and working on the efforts of his foundation, which works with at-risk children in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. 

“I just got some skills in tennis that can bring the ball over so it’ll be a fun day hopefully for me.” 

Nowitzki brought tennis stars John Isner, the current American number one, former top star and current BNP Paribas Open tournament director Tommy Haas, and The Bahamas’ own Mark Knowles out to give the basketball stars a bit of a lesson on the court. Dirk was joined by some of his former teammates such as NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic, JJ Barea, and another retired legend Steve Nash. 

“A lot of talking a lot of music. It’s a little bit different than ATP Tour but all in all it’s a lot of fun,” said Isner, 2018 Miami Open champion, when asked about playing in the exhibition event compared to action on tour.

The six-foot-11-inch American, now a Dallas resident, also shared why it’s so important to him to be here and support Dirk’s cause. “And just last thing is to help a charity like this with tennis, he [Nowitzki] puts tennis and charity in the spotlight. It certainly does.”

Rotating celebrity pros with amateurs through ten rounds of ten-point match tiebreaks, the tournament culminated in a thrilling final on Court 1 between Haas and Nash’s teams, a fitting final battle for court supremacy between the tennis and basketball pros. In the end, it was Haas and his amateur partner thrilling the crowd and stopping Nash’s surge 10-6 to win the 2019 Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic title. 

“Well he’s [Dirk] my friend first of all but he’s also been doing so many great things and all the effort and goodwill and kindness that he’s shown, I know it’s important to me to support that. So it’s great to be here and love the foundation,” commented NBA great Nash.

“Tennis is a beautiful sport. I’m loving starting to play and learn the game and I’m having a blast out here.”

Photo by Thomas Cluck
Photo by Thomas Cluck
Photo by Thomas Cluck
Photo by Thomas Cluck

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