HOBART, Tasmania - When Elise Mertens took down Mihaela Buzarnescu in the final of the Hobart International, something special happened. Not only did the Belgian become the first repeat champion in the tournament’s 25-year run - she also became the first player to lift the Angie Cunningham Trophy.
Named after the respected Tasmanian player Angie Cunningham (nee Woolcock), who lost her long battle with Motor Neurone Disease in 2016, the trophy honors a beloved WTA personality who left her impact on Hobart.
Angie’s two daughters, aged 11 and 8, were on hand after the final to present Mertens with the brand new trophy, while WTA Charities presented the Cunningham family with a check donation to FightMND in Angie’s memory.
“To coincide with the 25th edition of our event, we felt there was no greater way to honour a legendary Tasmanian tennis identity who was respected globally,” Tournament Director Darren Sturgess explained before the tournament.
“Tennis Australia is an official partner of FightMND, a charity many tennis fans, players and staff can resonate with. At Hobart International this year, we are proud to be helping promote the summer tennis campaign, Smash MND in an effort to raise awareness of the debilitating disease that has affected so many, including Angie.”
WTA Charities is the WTA's global philanthropic organization dedicated to making a positive impact across the globe. Our mission is to be a social responsibility vehicle built on the WTA's values to empower and provide for a better future. We're dedicated to combining, strengthening and enhancing the community and charitable efforts of the WTA through its members (players, alumnae and tournaments), along with our partners.