It’s the end of another remarkable group of events, when the world’s greatest tennis players, golf pros and wonderful amateur players come together to enjoy some good-natured competition and raise money for good causes.
This year we were at the Baha Mar, raising money for the communities suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands and here in the Bahamas, as well as the National Tennis Foundation. We’ll share more from the charity auction soon, but first there was the Necker Open Golf Pro-Am. Congratulations to Randy Crump, who won the Necker Open Putting Challenge, and Matt Pringle from Manuka Doctor, the overall winner of the Necker Open. Next, there were some big matches to be played on the tennis courts during the 2017 Manuka Doctor Necker Cup presented by Metal.
I enjoyed partnering with fantastic pros including Janko Tipsarevic and Roberto Bautista Agut and legends like Justine Henin, Tommy Haas, David Nalbandian, Martina Navratilova and Brad Gilbert. It was great playing against current world number three Grigor Dimitrov, fresh from winning the ATP Finals in London, and unwinding with the players after a long, hard season, be it on court or in the commentary box.
Jamie Foxx and Redfoo also joined us for some tennis. I loved playing an exhibition doubles game with Grigor against Tommy and Jamie – it’s not often you get to hit some winners against an Oscar winner and a former world number two! Jamie and I also hit some balls with the delightful young kids from the National Tennis Foundation.
There was still time on the courts for Grigor and Tommy to play a singles exhibition match (Tommy’s Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer impression will live long in the memory!) and for Redfoo, Justine and Martina to show some serious skills. Then the crowds gathered for the Necker Cup climax.
After five years of the tournament, I really thought 2017 was going to be the year I got my hands on the winner’s trophy. I won most of my round-robin stage matches and made it through to the final. But it wasn’t to be, after the brilliant MaryAnne McKenzie and her partner Tommy Haas beat yours truly and David Nalbandian in a last-game shoot out. Congratulations to them – there’s always next year!
Jamie Foxx was kind enough to entertain us at the End of the World party on the final night, along with Redfoo, Necker Cup organiser Mehow Music, and the incredible songwriter and performer behind hits like Man In The Mirror, Siedah Garrett, sang her heart out at our Dinner and Charity Auction. My good friend Gumption spoke on his experience since Hurricane Irma hit and gave some insight on the BVIs and how we all can contribute to the rebuilding efforts.
Thanks so much for all who have donated to Unite BVI to support the recovery efforts, everyone who worked so hard to make the Necker Cup and Necker Open a success, sponsors Manuka Doctor and Metal Pay, and all of the players who joined us at this year’s events. I’m looking forward to next year – back on Necker Island – for the Necker Cup/Open 2018.