Champions will play for bubble

Wimbledon titlists will raise money for local youth

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— Wimbledon champions David Pate and Scott Davis will be in Steamboat Springs over Valentine's weekend to help raise funds to replace the local tennis bubble.

The two paired up in the 35-and-over doubles division to take the 2002 Wimbledon title and will make their first trip to Steamboat, arriving Tuesday.

It is the first time the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs has hosted a pro exhibition since 1995.

"The large attraction of getting tennis pros to Steamboat is to combine their tennis expertise and their desire to ski on our world-class mountain," Tennis Center Director Jim Swiggart said.

Pate and Davis will ski with both Billy Kidd and Moose Barrows during their stay in Steamboat, Swiggart said.

In addition to playing in a singles exhibition on Feb. 15 at the Tennis Center, Pate and Davis are also planning on hitting balls with the Junior Academy, members of both high school teams, Team Steamboat and the adults on the morning of Feb. 15.

"I think they're fired up about coming," Swiggart said.

Wilson Racquet Sports, the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, the Steamboat Ski Area, The Bunkhouse Lodge, Steamboat Motors, Steamboat Premier Properties, and the city of Steamboat Springs are all helping bring David and Pate into town.

Davis is tennis director at the Newport Beach Tennis Club in California and Tate is the tennis director at Bally's in Las Vegas.

Together, they rose to the No. 2 doubles ranking on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour.

The ATP ranked Davis as high as No. 11 in singles.

Davis and Pate's doubles titles include one at the Australian Open, and two titles in the 35-and-over division at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

The singles exhibition between Pate and Davis begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 15, with seating starting at 6 p.m. at the Tennis Center.

Admission is $2 for juniors under 18 and $5 for adults.

An exhibition doubles match will follow, but David and Pate's opponents have not yet been announced.

The money raised from the Feb. 15 exhibition matches is being put into the Indoor Facility Replacement Fund, as the members of the Steamboat Tennis Association begin looking ahead to replacing the bubble that shields the clay courts from outside elements during the summer and winter.

"Having the players here is very exciting and is on the edge of perhaps many more such events," Carol O'Hare, Chair of the Facility Replacement Committee, said.

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