2014/12/20

Anna Kournikova and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris Celebrity Coaches for WTT Smash Hits

Pittsburgh, Pa. (October 15, 2012) — NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova are lending their support to Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO, the annual charity event co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King.

 

Harris and Kournikova will kick off the October 16 event in Pittsburgh by serving as celebrity coaches in the opening pro-celebrity set featuring Elton John teaming with Martina Navratilova to take on Andre Agassi and his wife Stefanie Graf. Kournikova is a co-captain of Team Elton and will be the coach for John and Navratilova. Harris, who is co-captain for Team Billie Jean, will be the coach for Agassi and Graf in the opening set. Action begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.

 

During a pre-match reception, Harris will also help auction off a Super Bowl package that includes tickets to the big game along with an autographed commemorative football celebrating the 40th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception”.

 

After the pro-celebrity set, some of tennis’ biggest names will form two teams and play five sets of World TeamTennis (WTT) – one set each of men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles – on teams captained by King and John.

 

Playing for Team Billie Jean are Hall of Famers Graf and Agassi, along with former world No. 1 in doubles Mark Knowles; world No. 30 Christina McHale and the 2012 US Open junior girls singles champion Samantha Crawford.

Team Elton includes former US Open champion Andy Roddick; Martina Navratilova, a 59-time Grand Slam champion in singles, doubles and mixed doubles; No. 1 ranked junior Taylor Townsend, and former top 15 player, WTT veteran Jan-Michael Gambill.

 

This year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of Smash Hits, which has raised more than $10.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. Mylan WTT Smash Hits will benefit EJAF and the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, and will also include a pre-match VIP Reception and Auction hosted by Allegheny Sports Medicine.

John, King and all players will participate in the pre-match live auction, which will include an Elton John signed piano bench and King’s Wimbledon tickets among other items.

 

Official event sponsors include Mylan, GEICO, Highmark, Allegheny Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mercedes-Benz of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, Horizon Properties, Wells Fargo, Buck Consultants, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cravath, Skadden, Alston+Bird LLP, Kelley Drye, Wiley Rein LLP, Frommer Lawrence & Haug LLP, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP, Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik LLP, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, The Norton Agency, GA Communication Group, Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Re/Max, Heeter Direct, Mansions on Fifth, 94.5 3WS, KDKA, and Pittsburgh Magazine.

 

For more information on WTT Smash Hits, visit www.wttsmashhits.com.

Share

Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars


View the slideshow

by Craig Hickman

Tuesday night, the players chose their fashion-forward best for the “Oscars” of the player party circuit. Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Ana Kournikova were the biggest stars of the tennis world in attendance, as well as world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Fernando Verdasco, and pretty boy Feliciano Lopez, who made one of the photographers weak-kneed.

Robin Soderling
, along with his girlfriend, were among the first to show up and they were already walking out when we arrived. Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova were the last to arrive on the red (blue) carpet. An adorable couple close up, their chemistry was palpable. Tomas has always had the look of an angel and Lucie’s baby-doll face was all aglow. I was thrilled to see Anastasia Myskina who arrived with the self-proclaimed “Russian Mob,” led by Svetlana Kuznetsova in another one of her head-scratching get ups.

Mixed in with the players were a few actors, a couple professional gamers, some well-known local DJ’s, and a few mystery men.

Venus Williams arrived about midway through and when Serena Williams wasn’t far behind, it was clear the superstar wasn’t coming. Also noticeably absent was Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Kim Clijsters.

Tweeting the photos was a stroke of genius suggested by photographer  JD Blom. I was all set to tweet my best descriptions of the outfits when he looked over my shoulder and said, “Just snap a photo.” Ah, technology. I’m not a wizard with the latest toys, so I had no clue you could do such a thing. Once I got the hang of it, it was all over. Would love to do that again someday.

Right before the paparazzi packed up equipment to leave, one of the Getty photographers asked my to identify most of the players he’d just captured for he only recognized a few big names. Who knew?

More photos from the live tweets – here.

On the Red (Blue) Carpet of the Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog He is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

[nggallery id=3]

Share

On the Red (Blue) Carpet of the Sony Ericsson Open Players Party

The Sony Ericsson Open Players Party took place at the Paris Theater in Miami Beach. Here are a few photos from the event held on March 22, 2011.

[nggallery id=3]

More photos from the live tweets – here.

Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog He is covering the Sony Ericsson Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

Share