Amateur Tennis Championship/Community Conversation benefiting Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation coming to Charlotte

Tennis tournament to focus on gun violence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte Amateur Tennis Championship, benefiting the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation, is coming to the Queen City for the first time.

The tournament will take place Aug. 16-18 at the Queens University Tennis Complex at Marion Diehl Recreation Center and the Jeff Adams Tennis Center. The event will be presented by Atrium Health and is sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Malcolm Graham is the Tournament Director and says Charlotte is the right place for the tournament.

“A lot of the tennis players in Charlotte play at the private facilities,” Graham said. “We want to introduce public court play.”

Registration is already open for all levels of play at TennisLink.USTA.com. The tournament ID number is 700125019 and should be entered when registering.

“Bringing a tournament of this caliber to Charlotte provides an opportunity for local tennis players to showcase their talent and creates an environment that embraces and engages the community,” Graham said. “The tournament will feature singles, doubles, mixed doubles and wheelchair matches. The entire community is invited and all proceeds will benefit the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation.”

Event officials say the goal of the championship is “to expose the local community to the sport of tennis through a community-focused tournament open to players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.” All proceeds will help with the mission of the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation.

“It means buying books,” Graham said. “Doing community workshops, doing community conversations, writing editorials.”

In addition to action-packed matches, the tournament weekend will also feature:

  • Kids Activities + Clinics
  • Food Trucks
  • Town Hall
  • Sunday Brunch

Additional sponsors along with Atrium Health include: Ally Bank, AT&T, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Charlotte Tennis Association, Food Lion, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Sherman Financial Group, United States Tennis Association and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. WBTV is the tournament’s official media partner.

“Tennis is a universal sport. I encourage the Charlotte community to pick up a racket, register for the tournament, participate in a clinic or join us for brunch,” Graham said. “This is a very special weekend that will offer something for the entire family.“

The day before the tournament there will be a special community conversation about gun violence. Graham believes enough is enough.

“We can’t get passed the fact that Cynthia died as well as eight others in gun violence - a mass shooting,” Graham said. “And the record reflects there have been a number of mass shootings and gun violence throughout the country: Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Las Vegas.”

Graham believes this gun violence the country is experiencing should be treated as a public health crisis. He believes if that happens more action will be taken to address gun violence happening in neighborhoods.

“The foundation believes that this is a public health crisis,” Graham said. “Gun violence across this country and here in Charlotte - again we see the impact of gun violence literally everyday on the local news.”

The Founder of the group Mothers Demand Action Shannon Watts will be the main speaker. Also panelists will be on hand talking about next steps to curb gun violence in the Charlotte community.

“We have been all over the country talking about common sense gun solution,” Graham said. "Obviously right here in my own backyard - we want to say something about those issues because clearly - I understand the pain that families and victims feel about gun violence. "

The Community Conversation with Shannon Watts will take place Aug. 15 from 7-9 p.m. at Johnson C. Smith University - Biddle Hall 100 Beatties Ford Road.

If you are interested in going to the Community Conversation register at Eventbrite.

For more information about the Charlotte Amateur Tennis Championship, you can visit cghfoundation.org/events, or contact Tournament Director Malcolm Graham at (704) 576-4568.

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