New York, N.Y. (October 5, 2016) Maria Sharapova will be back on the court for the first time since her ban, when she makes her World TeamTennis Smash Hits debut at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on October 1oth.
Sharapova will be playing in the charity event for the first time in its 24-year history. WTT Smash Hits, which is co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, raises funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Sharapova joins an all-star field that includes John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Mardy Fish and Mark Philippoussis. Another new addition to the field is former world No. 1 doubles player Liezel Huber.
“I am really excited to get back on the court for a great cause,” said the five-time major winner Sharapova in a press release. “I have been wanting to play this event for Billie and Elton for a long time so I am looking forward to a great night of tennis.”
Since 1993, WTT Smash Hits has raised more than $14 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local AIDS charities. Caesars Palace, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is also home to Elton John’s hit show, “The Million Dollar Piano.”
Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play a WTT match featuring singles and doubles action. The music legend is expected to participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Last year, Team Elton took a 12-11 edge in the overall series with a 17-11 win over Team Billie Jean.