Forget Wimbledon --  Wall Street's best tennis players are taking on Europe's financial elite in London this weekend

Jeff AppelLast year’s Team USA champions: Jeff Appel (L) and Bill Ackman (R)

Some of the biggest names in finance from both sides of the Atlantic will face off against each other at tennis in London this weekend.

The Wimbledon finals may be making all the headlines, but the second annual Finance Cup will also been taking place at the prestigious Queens Club in west London.

Team Europe are looking for revenge after their 8-1 defeat to the Team USA in New York last year.

Organised by American Jeff Appel and Swede David Anving, the cup brings together some of the top tennis players from Wall Street and Europe’s financial sector and has become one of the best networking opportunities in business.

The 41-person tournament mixes high-flying kings of finance such as hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman with young up and comers from the City and Wall Street. Players are recruited by Appel and Anving.

Make no mistake, this is no casual meetup between bankers playing a bit of tennis — many of these players have ATP rankings, have beaten top pros, and were among the best at their colleges and universities.

Some of the biggest companies in finance are represented, including Goldman Sachs by its Co-Head of Global Securities Pablo Salame and Head of the European Private Credit Group James Reynolds, JP Morgan Executive Director Alfredo Caturano, HSBC Nordic Private Banking head Tobias Hildebrand, and of course Perishing Square Capital billionaire Bill Ackman.

The competition will take place over three rounds in a single day, with four doubles matches in each round spread over the Open, Mid-Level and Senior categories.

BI caught up with the cofounders to hear what the tournament is all about.

‘The initial idea was friends just getting together’

It all started with a Business Insider article from two years ago, when Appel took BI on a tour of Wall Street’s tennis culture on Randall Island every Sunday.

Jeff appel david anvingHarry CicmaTeam Wall Street’s Jeff Appel (L) and Team Europe’s David Anving at Queens to practice before the tournament.

Anving, who had been the captain of the tennis team at the University of Michigan, saw the report and sent Appel a blind email suggesting they meet up — which they did in Paris, taking in the French Open.

Soon afterwards, the idea of the tournament took hold and Anving bought a European team to New York. Appel recalls that he and Anving “quickly became kindred souls. David and I wanted to create something that was altruistic. We want to help young people who have given so much to tennis.”

Anving says: “For us, the initial idea was friends just getting together, but since the first year we’ve had a lot of young kids who are maybe in college now and want to get into Wall Street or the City of London to work. So at a personal level that gives me the most satisfaction. And it’s a big team — there’s 40 people in total so it’s great for networking.”

Anving, a partner at Global Asset Management Capital, found 3 top employees through the Cup’s co-founder. This seems to be Appel’s main goal for the tournament. He says: “A lot of great friendships and business relationships have come out of this. We want to help other people and hope this will be a tradition that goes on for many years.”

Anving adds: “It’s great to meet people from both the US and all over Europe. Even if you’ve never met them before you tend to have common friends and there’s a sense of community.”

‘The Mayor of New York Tennis’

Appel — known as the “Mayor of New York Tennis” and ranked no.12 in the USTA 45s Singles category — can also be credited with getting Bill Ackman back into the game after sending him his own blind email. Ackman is now a major part of Team USA.

Team USA group Harry CicmaJeff Appel (far left) with members of the team.

“The tennis community in New York is very ingrained in the finance community,” Appel told Black Label Tennis in 2014. So why are so many great tennis players so suited to the world of finance?

“That’s a good question,” says Anving. “I guess because both require an intense amount of hard work and discipline. A lot of these guys were really good in college and just want to keep that intensity up. [Finance] jobs are a lot like tennis really, you look at traders where it can be so up and down, and I think that mentality for tennis comes in very helpful.”

Appel knows that Team Wall Street needs to stay on its toes this weekend, saying: “David aggressively recruited for Team Europe this year and did a great job. We’re looking forward to great matches and know that the change to grass courts will be an extra challenge.”

Anving is confident, saying: “Our team is much better than it was last year… but so is Team USA. I think we need a couple of wins in the older and younger sections, but in the mid-level we’re really strong.”

Here are team rosters for the annual Tennis Finance Cup. Keep an eye on Business Insider for the results after the weekend:

Wall Street (USA) Roster – Open Category

Amer Delic: ATP ranking #60 Singles #74 Doubles and works at Meritage Capital.

Mac Styslinger: 2016 Captain of National Champion UVA Team, with an NCAA ranking of #5 Singles, #1 Doubles. He works at Fidus Partners.

Kaes Van’t Hof: ATP #605 Singles, #155 Double, with 5 Career doubles titles. He works at Wexford Capital.

Drew Courtney: ATP ranking #212 Doubles and NCAA ranking of #15 Singles, #1 Doubles. He works at Brown Advisory.

Jason Pinsky: #1 USTA Boys 18s and NCAA #11 Doubles, he works at Table Management.

Marc Powers: #1 Singles and Doubles all 4 years at Yale University and Ivy Player and Rookie of the Year. He works at Samlyn Capital

Mid 37-46 Category

Graydon Oliver: ATP ranking #29 Doubles, and reached round of 16 2-times at Wimbledon and US Open  NCAA #9 Singles, #1 Doubles. He works for Avalon Advisors.

Kevin Kim: ATP ranking #63 Singles, #118 Doubles, 9 ATP Challenger Singles Titles. He is at California Bank & Trust.

Thomas Blake: ATP ranking #264 Singles, #141 Doubles and #1 Singles and Doubles at Harvard. He’s with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

Kunj Majmudar: ATP ranking #728 Singles, #409 Doubles and NCAA #25 Singles, #1 Doubles. He is Director at Seven Bridges Advisors.

Rodolfo “Rudy” Rake: ATP raning #353 Singles, Doubles #501 and #4 World Junior, #1 in USA. He has beaten Roger Federer and is Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Jonathan Pastel: ATP ranking #718 Singles, #905 Doubles and NCAA #30, he is Director – Alliance Bernstein

Senior +47 Category

Richey Reneberg: ATP ranking #20 Singles, #1 Doubles, won 3 ATP Tour Singles Titles and 19 ATP Tour Doubles Titles. Also on US David Cup 5 times and 1996 Olympic team. He is a Principal at Taconic Capital Advisors.

Eoin Collins: ATP ranking #461 Singles, #308 Doubles and won ATP Challenger in Japan. He works at SVP Comerica Bank.

Steven Hentschel: NCAA ranking #16 Singles and #1 Singles and Doubles Princeton University. He is the founder & CEO of Hentschel & Company

Walter Dolhare: ATP ranking #708 Singles, #596 Doubles and #2 Singles and Doubles for University of Notre Dame. He works as Head of Markets Division at Wells Fargo Securities.

Jeffrey Appel: Founder of Finance Cup – Captain Team Wall Street. Captain Eastern National Open Team – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 National Champions. USTA rankings of #12 45s Singles, #1 Eastern 45s Singles. He is the Senior Managing Director of Broadband Capital

Eddie Barretto: ATP rankings #610 Singles, #600 Doubles and NCAA #33 Singles, #14 Doubles. He is Managing Director at BTIG.

Pablo Salame: Played Boris Becker in French Open Juniors and top ranked junior in Ecuador. He is Co-Head of Global Securities & Chairman of Partnership Committee at Goldman Sachs.

Bill Ackman: Co-Captain Team Wall Street and two-time NY State HS Doubles Quarterfinalists. He is the Founder & CIO of Pershing Square Capital Management.

City of London (Europe) Roster – Open Category

Ludovic Walter: ATP ranking #279 Singles, #335 Doubles. Won 3 Singles Futures Titles. He works at Barclays Capital in Credit Research.

Zoltan Csandi: NCAA #1 in Doubles and w
ins over John Isner and Victor Hanescu. #1 in Romania in 18 and under. He is Partner at Evercore ISI.

Jamie Baker: #186 ATP Singles ranking. Played in Main Draws of Australian Open and Wimbledon. United Kingdom Davis Cup Team. He works at Banco Santander.

Barry King: #600 ATP Singles ranking, #431 ATP Doubles. Irish Davis Cup Team 2009-2011 and #2 Singles and #1 doubles at Notre Dame  University of Notre Dame. He works at Davy Stockbrokers Capital Markets.

Nejc Smole: #608 ATP Doubles ranking and #1 University of Denver. he works at Central Bank of Luxembourg.

Luben Pampoulov: #ATP 393 singles, #346 Doubles rankings. Won Sofia Challenger in Doubles and two UK futures ATP singles, and Swiss singles satellite. He is the Co-founder of Partner GSV Asset Management.

David Anving (Injured): Founder of Finance Cup – Captain Team City of London. Runner-up in the Swedish Championships in Doubles +21  Team captain at the University of Michigan. He is a Partner at GAC.

Mid 37-46 Category

John Doran: ATP #357 Singles, #253 Doubles rankings, won 1 Satellite and 2 Futures Titles and 5 Futures Doubles Titles. He is a Principal in Technology Crossover Ventures.

Tobias Hildebrand: ATP #427 Singles, #210 Doubles rankings. He won Tampere and Scheveningen Challenger Doubles Titles and reached 5 finals and was a Swedish National Champion over 35, singles and doubles. He is Head of HSBC Nordics Private Banking.

Oliver Freelove: ATP #535 Singles, #239 Doubles rankings, and ranked #4 in Singles NCAA

Marex Spectron Lassi Ketola: ATP # 653 Singles, # 288 Doubles rankings and Finnish Davis Cup Team. He is an Executive Director at Julius Bär.

Philipp Stockhoff: Top 5 in Germany as a junior and Regional German Champion in juniors and Men’s  Currently playing Bundesliga +40. He is a Partner at E&Y Finance.

James Reynolds: Ranked junior in France and Won 2016 ITF Senior 40s Marbella. He is Head of the European Private Credit Group, Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking.

Senior +47 Category

Mario Visconti: ATP #154 Singles ranking and ATP Challenger singles win. French Open Singles 2nd Round 1993 and Italian Davis Cup Team 1993-1994. He works is a Principal at Banca Monte Dei Paschi S.p.A

Martin Persson: ATP #1077 Singles ranking and Semi-finalist NCAA National Clay Court Championships

Alfredo Caturano: Won Italian National Championship in Doubles. He is an Executive Director JP Morgan and Co-Founder and CEO Madrague Capital Partners.

Zubin Irani: Played Junior Wimbledon and Junior US Open and ranked top 30 in the world in Juniors Semi-finalist at NAIA collegiate championships. He is Managing Principal at Westbrook Partners

Rupert de Laszlo: Played futures in France, US, Spain, and the UK and coached a number of top 100 ATP and WTA player. He is a Principal at Prosperitas Capital.

Rajweer Ranawat: One of the top junior players in India. Played #2 for Jacksonville University. He works at AS Capital.

Christer Gardell: Semi-finalist in the European Championships in Doubles +55 and Winner in the European Championships in Mixed Doubles +50. Ranked #2 in the world in mixed doubles +50, ranked #15 in the world in doubles +50. He s the Founder and Managing Partner of Cevian Capital.

Jan Vrbsky: #4 in the Juniors in Czech Republic and Czech Republic National Team in the Juniors. He is the Managing Director and Co-Head Equity Trading at Baader Bank

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