Cibulkova! Kournikova! Bratislava!
Published November 25, 2010 12:00
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - Slovak tennis fans were given a pre-Christmas treat this week when national tennis heroes Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty hosted visiting greats Thomas Muster and Anna Kournikova for a charity exhibition at Bratislava's Sibamac Arena.
The first match of the evening saw 43-year-old saw Muster, a former world No.1 and 1995 French Open champion - who has been making forays back onto the professional circuit - take on Hrbaty, who recently announced his retirement from the ATP World Tour at the age of 32.
While the younger man had little trouble beating Muster in straight sets, 63 64, the Austrian veteran lived up to his reputation as a showman, at various times eating sweets in the VIP box, presenting a woman audience member with flowers, and even letting one spectator play a point against Hrbaty.
The men's singles match was followed by an auction of racquets belonging to all four players, with the money raised going to children's haematology and oncology departments in the city.
The second part of the third annual Tennis Classic featured a mixed doubles match pitching Hrbaty and Cibulkova against Muster and former doubles No.1 Kournikova (who won two Australian Open titles and two WTA Championships with Martina Hingis). Cibulkova got the crowd going by several times hitting the ball right at Muster, while Kournikova caused a stir when her gold chain became entangled in the microphone fixed to her top. Even so, her side prevailed in the tie-break, 7-4.
Hrbaty's wife is due to give birth to their first child in late December. A former world No.12, he reached the semis at Roland Garros in 1991, and won the Hopman Cup for Slovakia on two occasions - with Daniela Hantuchova in 2005, and Cibulkova in 2009.
Cibulkova finished 2010 as the Slovak No.2 on a ranking of No.31 - right behind Hantuchova, who sits at No.30.
Check out photos from the Bratislava Tennis Classic!