Evert takes her swings

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:54 AM ET

Chris Evert is thankful no one came up with this idea back when she was playing.

"My serve was the worst part of my game," said Evert, who was in Toronto yesterday to promote the Rogers Cup and an aces-for cash program for charity that has been set up for the women's tennis tournament. "I couldn't have helped much."

Be that as it may, Evert still put together a Hall of Fame tennis career. And it was Evert's legendary status, along with that of Monica Seles, that Tennis Canada drew upon for an exhibition doubles match with new Maple Leaf Jason Allison and former Leaf Darryl Sittler.

The event was designed to draw attention to two things:

First, the Rogers Cup, which will take place next week at the Rexall Centre at York University; and second, the American Express Aces Program, which will see the company donate $150 toward youth development through Tennis Canada for every ace that is served during the tournament.

Organizers are hoping to raise about $75,000. A portion of the funds will be targeted for something called the "tennis in the schools" initiative.

"We're going to 25 schools in three high-risk districts in the city of Toronto, as identified by Mayor David Miller as part of his community safety plan," said Stacey Allaster, the tournament director for Tennis Canada. "Kids are going to receive equipment, lessons and instruction manuals, so we can integrate tennis into their physical-education curriculum.

Evert and Allison managed to defeat Seles and Sittler in a tiebreaking game that Evert insisted upon parently she's as competitive as ever.

"Hopefully even the kids who come out to watch us (yesterday) will be inspired," Seles said. "That's how I started playing tennis, watching another player, Bjorn Borg, come to Yugoslavia. I never imagined where it would take me one day."

The Rogers Cup tourney gets under way tomorrow, with qualifying matches and the draw. Matches in the main draw start on Monday.


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