On Feb. 4, Halton Arena in the Student Activity Center (SAC) became the host of professional tennis player John Isner’s annual charity event, the sixth annual Ebix Charity Challenge.
Isner is America’s top mens singles tennis player and is a Native of Greensboro, NC. He created the Ebix Charity Challenge after his mother Karen Isner, was diagnosed with colon cancer.
Karen was successfully treated at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
John created the event to benefit the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to give back to the place that saved his mother’s life.
“Our family owes Lineberger Hospital everything,” said John. “If there is anything we can do to give back, we’re gonna do it.”
All proceeds raised during the charity challenge are donated to the center.
During the event, John was accompanied by professional tennis players Andy Roddick, Bob Bryand and Mike Bryan, who are more commonly refered to as the Bryan Brothers.
At 7:30 p.m. John played a singles match with Roddick, which was followed by a doubles match between the Bryan Brothers against John and Roddick.
There were also raffles at the event to give audience members the chance to return one of John’s serves and to participate in a doubles match against the Bryan Brothers. The raffle challenges happened in between the singles and doubles match.
The players were less focused on winning that night. Instead, they wanted to show the audience a good time and raise money for the center.
“I think it’s going to be more of a fun night than an intense tennis match,” said Event Manager Brandon Malley.
Malley works with Lagadere Sports, a company based out of Washington, D.C. that has organized the event for the past six years and has worked with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to make the fundraiser possible.
“We’ve built great relationships with them over the past couple years and it’s just a mutual thing were we all want to raise enough money to put towards cancer research,” said Malley.
After last year’s event, hosted at Greensboro, John wanted to move it to a larger venue. UNC Charlotte agreed to hold the event.
“[John] wanted to try a bigger market. We’ve had the support of UNC Charlotte wanting to host us so that’s why we brought it here,” said Malley.
Before the tennis challenge in Halton Arena, the players were giving lessons to both youth and adult clinics at Olde Providence Racquet Club located in Charlotte.
General tickets to the public were available for $35. Tickets for UNC Charlotte staff and faculty started at $10.
Before the singles match started, the players were signing posters and taking pictures in the SAC.
Photos by Ben Robson.