Supporters and celebrities will rally around the gutsy Cape Town pair of Carlos Gomes and Wendy Thompson as they start their bid on Friday evening at setting a new Guinness World Record for the longest singles tennis match.
The Constantia Tennis Club pair will attempt to play for 65 hours to raise funds to improve tennis facilities at the Cape townships of Khayalitsha and Khayamandi through their charity Grass Roots Tennis.
Celebrities have thrown their weight behind the pair and will play in invitation matches on the Sunday afternoon, aimed at keeping the tiring pairs spirits up and adding their weight to the fundraising efforts.
Adventurer couple Riaan Manser and his wife Vasti will be part of the Sunday afternoon exhibition match, along with ex rugby player Werner Greeff, TV personality Steven Taylor, actress Chanelle de Jager and Beatenberg lead singer Matthew Field.
Gomes and Thompson have spent the week ahead of their marathon tennis match banking as much sleep as possible, and encouraging individuals and corporates to get behind their fundraising drive.
“This week has been all about logistics, making sure that clock is ready and that all the volunteers are in place,” said Thompson.
They will be allowed five minutes rest every hour, which they plan to bank to enable them to get some sleep during the 65 hour challenge that will start at the Constantia Tennis Club at 5pm on Friday afternoon and if all goes according to plan, will end at 10am on Monday morning.
In addition they plan to make full use of the normal tennis rules allowing the players to rest between each game and set.
The entire match will be scrutinised by the Guinness Book of World Records to ensure the pair comply with all the requirements, and will be streamed live on their website.
“We are excited and nervous at the same time,” said Gomes. “We are really thrilled by the growing support from the tennis community, and the worldwide interest in our bid.
“We have no doubts about how tough it will be,” he added. “Our club mates and friends will be there to support us on the Saturday afternoon, and the celeb exhibition matches on Sunday will be just what we need at that stage in the 65 hour challenge.
The pair said they were buoyed by the enthusiasm of the young tennis players from the two township tennis clubs they were raising funds for.
“The youngsters from Khayalitsha and Khayamandi will also be there to support us. We have organised that they get some elite coaching on the Saturday,” said Thompson.
“The real challenge here is to make sure we raise enough money to be able to provide the young tennis players in Khayalitsha and Khayamandi with decent tennis facilities and to make sure that this is a sustainable support programme,” added Carlos.
The 65 Hour Challenge to break the Guinness World Record for the longest singles tennis match gets under way at the Constantia Tennis Club at 17h00 on Friday 3 February, and intends to finish at 10am on Monday 6 February 2017.
More information can be found at www.grassrootstennis.co.za where donations and pledges can also be made.
To interview the, please contact:
Carlos Gomes on 079 512 1256
During the record bid, for updates please contact Angela on 021 794 4295.