HOBART, Tasmania - A new trophy named in honour of the late Angie Cunningham, who lost her long battle with Motor Neurone Disease in 2016, will be the prize on offer for the 2018 women’s singles champion at the Hobart International.
Cunningham (nee Woolcock) was a World No.2-ranked junior from Launceston, Tasmania, who reached the Australian Open and Wimbledon junior girls’ doubles finals. She competed in the inaugural Hobart International in 1994, and later became the WTA Tour’s Vice-President of Player Relations and On-Site Operations. After a courageous battle with Motor Neurone Disease, she passed away at age 43 in 2016.
“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.
“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.”
In addition, WTA Charities will add to the support for FightMND with a donation in Angie's memory.
The new, innovatively-designed women’s singles champion trophy replaces the wooden Tasmania-shaped trophy used since 1994. Tennis Tasmania worked with the University of Tasmania, using cutting-edge virtual reality technology, to create an art design inspired by a female forehand stroke, created by Launceston-based designer Anita Dineen.
“We’re humbled and incredibly proud – I know that’s a clichéd way to describe it, but it’s true,” said Cunningham’s husband Pat. “This honour is incredibly meaningful to her family. Angie was a proud Tasmanian, so to be recognised in this way in her local community is something very special.”
Although based in London for 10 years while she worked for the WTA Tour – the Hobart International was an event that always remained close to Angie’s heart and she travelled back many times to assist in her official role.
This year her daughters, now 11 and 8, will continue that tradition of involvement and present the inaugural Angie Cunningham Trophy to the women’s singles champion.
“No doubt it will be an emotional moment – but we are, and always will be, proud of the contribution Angie made while she was with us,” Pat said.
“To be honest she would be embarrassed by this level of attention – it wasn’t her style to be front and centre in this way – however, we are very humbled and proud. This really is a beautiful thing.”
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.