Top tennis players coming next week

Some of the biggest names in tennis will be in the area next week to play The Championships at The Palisades, part of the Outback Champions Series. It begins Wednesday at the Tim Wilkison Signature Sports Complex.

It features tennis stars 30 and older and is limited to Grand Slam singles finalists or champions, singles players on winning Davis Cup teams and players ranked in the top five in the world during their careers.

This year's eight-man field includes: Jim Courier, Goran Ivanisevic, Mark Philippoussis, Todd Martin, Wayne Ferreira, Aaron Krickstein, Jimmy Arias and Mikael Pernfors.

Other highlights:

Kraft Kids Day, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. The first 100 kids to arrive will get to play tennis with competing pros.

Anna Kournikova and Chanda Rubin will play a special mixed doubles exhibition on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Tickets range from $15 weekday bleacher seats to $5,000 for a four-person luxury box covering all five days. For tickets, call 877-332-8499 or log onto www.championsseriestennis.com.

Hit with the stars

The winner of our The Championships at the Palisades contest will get to play tennis for an hour with all eight tournament players.

The spot in the private clinic will be awarded to one person; this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will take place early next week.

How to enter: Send e-mail to wintickets@ charlotteobserver.com. In the subject line, write “The Championships at The Palisades”; in the body of the e-mail, briefly tell us why you deserve this opportunity. Include your name, hometown and a daytime number.

Second prize: Four tickets to The Championships at The Palisades finals ($1,000 value).

Third prize: Two tickets to the finals ($500 value).

Deadline: 3 p.m. today.