2014/07/31

WTT Smash Hits raises a record $1 million as Team Billie Jean beats Team Elton 19-17

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 16, 2012) — The 20th anniversary edition of Mylan WTT
Smash Hits presented by GEICO, was one for the record books with the event
posting a record $1 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation with a
portion of those proceeds benefitting the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The
event, hosted annually by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, has now
raised more the $11.5 million to support HIV and AIDS prevention and
awareness programs since the first Smash Hits was held in Los Angeles in
1993.

Team Billie Jean King won the match, besting Team Elton John, 19-17.

Tuesday’s match at the Petersen Event Center on the University of Pittsburgh
campus featured one of the first tennis appearances of Andy Roddick since
announcing his retirement from the sport, and hall of famer Andre Agassi in
men’s singles. Team Elton’s Roddick won the final set of men’s singles over
Agassi, 5-3, to push the match into Overtime. Agassi captured the first
game of Overtime to give Team Billie Jean the win and even the 20-year
series at 10-10.

Sir Elton John kicked the evening off, partnering with Martina Navratilova
to take a 3-2 victory against Agassi and Stefanie Graf in an entertaining
celebrity doubles set.

Women’s singles brought two of the top junior players in the world and saw
Team Elton’s Taylor Townsend post a 5-2 win over the 2012 US Open girls
singles champion Samantha Crawford. In mixed doubles, Roddick paired with
the legendary Martina Navratilova to lead Team Elton to a 5-3 win over
Agassi and Graf.

In women’s doubles, Christina McHale teamed with Crawford and cruised to a
5-0 win over Navratilova and Townsend to bring Team Billie Jean even with
Team Elton 10-10 after three sets. “I am so happy with my team tonight,”
said King following the match. “Girls doubles really turned it around for
us. The young ones got us back in the match.”

King’s squad increased their lead in men’s doubles as Mark Knowles joined
Agassi to pick up a 5-2 win over Roddick and Jan-Michael Gambill.

Earlier in the evening, a silent and live auction raised more than $375,000
of the night’s total. The top auction item of the night went for $200,000
when two bidders paid $100,000 each for a package that included tickets to
Sir Elton John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” show at Caesar’s Palace in Las
Vegas and dinner with Elton and Billie Jean King. A hitting session with
Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf in Las Vegas sold for $55,000. Other auction
items were a 2013 Super Bowl Package with a dinner hosted by NFL legend
Franco Harris, an Elton John-signed piano bench, a hitting session with
Martina Navratilova, and Wimbledon and US Open packages.

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

Final Results – Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO at Petersen Events
Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
PRO-CELEB MATCH (didn’t count towards final match score): Elton John /
Martina Navratilova def. Andre Agassi / Stefanie Graf, 3-2
Coaches for the pro-celeb match were Anna Kournikova (Elton/Martina) and
Franco Harris (Andre/Stefanie)

Team Billie Jean def. Team Elton 19-17 (1-0 Overtime)
Mixed Doubles: Andy Roddick / Martina Navratilova (Team Elton) def. Andre
Agassi / Stefanie Graf (Team Billie Jean) 5-3

Women’s Singles: Taylor Townsend (Team Elton) def. Samantha Crawford (Team
Billie Jean) 5-2

Women’s Doubles: Christina McHale /Samantha Crawford (Team Billie Jean) def.
Martina Navratilova / Taylor Townsend (Team Elton) 5-0

Men’s Doubles: Andre Agassi / Mark Knowles (Team Billie Jean) def. Andy
Roddick / Jan-Michael Gambill (Team Elton) 5-2

Men’s Singles: Andy Roddick (Team Elton) def. Andre Agassi (Team Billie
Jean) 5-3

Overtime:
Andre Agassi (Team Billie Jean) def. Andy Roddick (Team Elton) 1-0

TEAM ELTON:
Elton John, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Taylor Townsend, Jan-Michael
Gambill.
Co-captain: Anna Kournikova.

TEAM BILLIE JEAN:
Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Mark Knowles, Christina
McHale, Samantha Crawford.
Co-captain: Franco Harris

All photos by Fred & Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA

no images were found

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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.

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Agassi, Graf, Roddick to Headline WTT Smash Hits on October 16

 

Pittsburgh, Pa. (June 25, 2012) — Longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King are bringing their annual charity night of tennis, Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) Smash Hits presented by GEICO, to Pittsburgh for the first time in the event’s 20-year history. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl joined WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss and Mylan CEO Heather Bresch at Pittsburgh City Hall this afternoon to announce the event, which will raise funds for the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Tennis greats Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, and Andy Roddick will join other top players for Mylan WTT Smash Hits on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Petersen Events Center. Tickets for the one-night event go on sale Monday, July 16, at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Mylan, a global pharmaceutical company based in the Pittsburgh area, has signed on as the title sponsor of this special 20th anniversary celebration of one of tennis’ longest-running and most successful charity events. Mylan will also be an official sponsor of the WTT Pro League, the innovative coed professional tennis league co-founded by Billie Jean King.

Smash Hits has raised more than $10.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. This year’s event will benefit EJAF and the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The funds raised at the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction hosted by Allegheny Sports Medicine will be specifically targeted for local programs.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary of Smash Hits, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Mylan, whose leadership work in the AIDS arena has continued to make such a positive difference on a global basis,” said WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. “Together, we will continue to use all our assets to expand awareness and ensure as many people as possible have access to affordable drugs to treat HIV/AIDS.”

“Mylan is honored to be sponsoring the 20th Annual Smash Hits event in Pittsburgh, as well as the WTT Pro League,” said Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan Inc. “Mylan’s mission is to provide the world’s 7 billion people with access to high quality medicine. As one of the world’s leading providers of affordable antiretroviral medicines used to treat HIV/AIDS, Mylan has a long history of taking an active role in the fight against this disease. In fact, one in three people in the developing world being treated for HIV/AIDS depends on a Mylan product. We strongly support the missions of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and World TeamTennis and share in their passionate commitment to reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and around the world.”

“We’re really excited to host this world-renowned event in Pittsburgh and bring light to such an important issue,” Ravenstahl said. “The generous support of companies such as Mylan and Highmark takes our City’s history of neighbors-helping-neighbors to a global level, enabling us to have a greater impact while still helping local residents in need.”

“It is always such a great pleasure to co-host this wonderful event with my dear friend Billie Jean King,” said Sir Elton John. “I’m so pleased that we will be teaming up with the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force to raise awareness about the continuing challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic both locally and nationally and to raise urgently needed dollars for community-based HIV prevention, education, treatment, and care services. I urge all of the tennis fans and concerned citizens in the Greater Pittsburgh area to support this event and bring their families for a wonderful evening of tennis for a great cause.”

Captained by King and John, the players 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. The music legend is expected to participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Additional participants will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Pittsburgh also served as home to one of the WTT Pro League’s first teams, the 1975 WTT Champion Pittsburgh Triangles, a storied franchise led by tennis greats Vitas Gerulaitis and Evonne Goolagong.

Tickets for Mylan WTT Smash Hits go on sale at 10 a.m. Eastern on Monday, July 16. Corner reserved seats are $40; premium reserved seats are $75; and courtside seats are $125. Order tickets through www.wttsmashhits.com or ticketmaster.com. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, call 412-924-8270.

Special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the VIP Reception and Auction, will also be available for $500. 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. To buy VIP ticket packages or for more information, call 412-924-8270.

This will be 12th Smash Hits appearance for Agassi. The 8-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 is well-known for his philanthropy, which includes starting the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas. Agassi was inducted into The International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.

This is the second Smash Hits appearance for Graf, a fellow Hall of Famer. Graf has long been considered one of the greatest players in tennis history, winning 107 singles titles, 22 Grand Slam singles championships, and an Olympic gold medal before retiring in 1999. Graf and her husband Andre Agassi have two children, daughter Jaz and son Jaden.

Roddick, who is playing in his 8th Smash Hits event, is a former world No. 1 and continues to be one of the most popular and successful players on the ATP Tour. The 29-year-old American has won 30 singles titles, including the 2003 US Open and has been ranked in the top 10 for nine consecutive years. In 2001, Roddick started the Andy Roddick Foundation (ARF), a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and enhancing educational and economic opportunities for all children based on the principles of respect for family, education and morality.

Official event sponsors include Mylan, GEICO, Highmark, Allegheny Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Magazine.

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

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Longines Future Tennis Aces Event Completed in Paris

Paris (France) / St. Imier (Switzerland), 9 June 2012 – After two days of highly emotional tennis, the final of the Longines Future Tennis Aces Roland Garros 2012 tournament was held over the final weekend at Roland Garros. Destanee Aiava from Australia won the tournament, beating Haruna Arakawa from Japan. This exciting duel was followed by an exhibition match that brought together three generations of players. The two finalists of the Longines Future Tennis Aces Roland Garros 2012 tournament teamed up with Stefanie Graf and Sabine Lisicki, with Mansour Bahrami also joining in the fun. Afterwards Longines presented the two youngsters with an annual bursary of $2,000 to pay for their tennis equipment until their 16th birthday.

The U.S. was represented in Paris by Rachel Lim, a 12-year-old, from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., who won the Longines Future Tennis Aces qualifying tournament for U.S. participants last month. Lim, USTA ranked No. 22 in the 12-and-under division, lost in the first round last Thursday against the top-seeded player from Russia.

The Longines Future Tennis Aces Roland Garros 2012 tournament was a huge success. Through this tournament, Longines – the official partner of Roland Garros – aims to look for tomorrow’s tennis champions and to promote sport as well as respect, fair play and tolerance, which are essential for the enjoyment of sport. Over two days, the 16 players, all under the age of 13 and from all corners of the world, did their best to qualify for the final on Saturday morning.

A press conference was held in the Tennis Museum at Roland Garros to wind up the Longines Future Tennis Aces Tournament Roland Garros 2012, with the presence of Walter von Känel, President of Longines, Graf, Lisicki, Florence Ollivier-Lamarque, General Director Swatch Group France, Gilbert Ysern, General Director of the French Tennis Federation and Director of the French Open and Nelson Montfort.

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Stefanie Graf to play exhibition match at Roland Garros

Rachel Lim, the United States’ representative for the Longines Future Tennis Aces – On the Road to the French Open tournament at Roland Garros is currently training near her home in Briarcliff Manor, NY in preparation for her first International tournament. Lim qualified for the all-expense-paid trip to Paris following a victory at last month’s Future Tennis Aces U.S. qualifying event at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the U.S. Open, in Flushing Meadows, NY.

 

Ranked No. 22 nationally in the 12-and-under division, Lim will compete against 15 finalists from around the world during the final weekend of the French Open. In addition to winning an all-expense paid trip to Roland Garros, Lim will compete for a chance to play with former world No. 1 and Longines Ambassador of Elegance Stefanie Graf and member of the Longines Rising Tennis Stars Sabine Lisicki (ranked 12th at the WTA) in an exhibition match prior to the French Open Women’s Final, and financing for her tennis equipment until her 16th birthday, courtesy of Longines.

 

“I’m very excited to meet and play against other players from around the world,” said Lim. “I can’t wait to experience their different styles of play. This will be my first trip overseas to play a tennis tournament. I am very excited to finally be able to visit the Eiffel tower, learn about the French culture and go to the French Open at Roland Garros and have the chance of a lifetime to play on the brick clay.”

 

Lim started playing tennis at 5-years-old and appeared in her first national competition at age 8. Last November she won her first USTA National Open in the 12-and-under singles division and most recently captured her second national title at the USTA National Open at Owning Mills, MD. She also placed 3rd in doubles at the same tournament.

 

Longines Future Tennis Aces is part of the brand’s global commitment to support and develop tennis’ superstars of tomorrow. All the players who qualified for the World Final event in Paris will have the opportunity to attend the French Open Women’s Final on June 9. Longines is the official timekeeper of the French Open of Roland Garros.

 

Countries competing at the Longines Future Tennis Aces World Final include: Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italia, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the United States.

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Evert, Graf, Navratilova and Late Wheelchair Star Randy Snow to be Part of Charitable Initiative “Avenue of Aces” at US Open

 

USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced on Tuesday that it will complement its donor-supported Avenue of Aces by adding new “neighborhoods” honoring US Open singles champions Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Stefanie Graf, and the late wheelchair tennis pioneer Randy Snow. They join tennis legends Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Billie Jean King in lending their names to the Avenue of Aces charitable initiative, which allows the public to order their own personalized pavers.

 

The Avenue of Aces provides an opportunity for supporters of USTA Serves to create a lasting legacy by ordering personalized pavers on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center—the home of the US Open. Since its inception in 2005, the Avenue of Aces initiative has raised more than $1.5 million to support programs that benefit people with disabilities and children in underserved communities with opportunities to play tennis, fight obesity, improve academics, and apply for college scholarships.

 

“USTA Serves is honored to have the support of these great champions to help make a difference in the lives of America’s youth,” said Mary Carillo, President, USTA Serves. “Through the Avenue of Aces Neighborhood initiative, USTA Serves will be able to expand tennis and educational opportunities in underserved communities across the nation.”

 

USTA Serves has granted more than $10 million to fund 226 programs in 43 states, including $600,000 to adaptive tennis programs for people with special needs. In addition, USTA Serves has awarded more than $4 million in college scholarships and player incentive awards to more than 770 middle school students and high school seniors. To date, USTA Serves has awarded more than $14 million in grants and scholarships to people and programs throughout the country in order to provide the underserved youth with greater opportunities to realize success.

 

“I’m honored to have a neighborhood on the Avenue of Aces, to be a part of US Open history and to be moving in with other champions,” said Navratilova. “I support USTA Serves’ efforts to use the powerful combination of tennis and education to make our youth healthy, fit and academically strong.”

 

Those wishing to order a paver in the neighborhood of their favorite champion may do so by visiting www.ustaserves.com/paver or by calling (914) 696-7223.

 

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Graf Participates in Longines Center Court for Kids Clinic in Harlem

HARLEM, New York – Twenty-two time Grand Slam champion Stefanie Graf led a children’s tennis clinic at the 143rd Street Armory on Thursday. The clinic sponsored by the watchmaker Longines focused on Quickstart and 10 and under tennis with members of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Educational Program, Harlem Children’s Zone and Ann Tisch’s Young Women’s Leadership School  taking the court.

 

Katrina Adams, Stefanie Graf and Sloane Stephens

“It’s so much fun hitting with the kids from the Harlem Junior Tennis and Educational Program.  Teaching children about the significance of education and staying active is very important to me because I believe participating in a sport at a young age teaches hard work, perseverance and discipline.”

Joining Graf on the court were current player Sloane Stephens, former Grand Slam doubles champion Murphy Jensen, former professional and current Executive Director of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Educational Program Katrina Adams. The Harlem Junior Tennis and Educational Program provides summer tennis and educational programs for nearly 500 children ages 7-18.

The event was presented by Harlem Junior Tennis and Educational Program and USTA Eastern and will benefit Graf’s Children for Tomorrow charity.

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USTA Teams Up with Agassi and Graf to Promote 10 and Under Tennis

The USTA is teaming up with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf to encourage children to get healthy, active and into the game through the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis program. The collaboration will launch a new commercial that will air during the Olympus US Open Series and the US Open. The 30-second commercial, which is titled Story Time, promotes the innovative approach that 10 and Under Tennis offers kids to easily participate in the sport by featuring smaller courts, shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls and simplified scoring – all designed to make tennis more fun from the first time kids experience it. The campaign aims to increase youth participation and generate awareness among parents who want their young children to have fun while learning how to play the game.

 

Story Time features Agassi and Graf reading a book to a group of children and narrating the story of a little girl named Sophie who just wanted to have fun. She tried playing tennis only to discover that the equipment and courts were not designed for kids to play on. The commercial also uses animation to depict how learning and playing the game can be overwhelming for some children when they first begin learning the game. However, 10 and Under Tennis, which is “real” tennis sized-right for kids, now allows them to enjoy playing the game from the start.

 

Agassi, a Hall-of-Famer and eight-time Grand Slam singles champion; and Graf, a 22-time  Grand Slam singles title champion and Olympic gold medal winner, are both widely known for their dedication to helping children reach their athletic potential through their philanthropic efforts. Agassi and Graf are great proponents of the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis program.

 

“As a mother and life-long tennis player, I fully understand the importance of ensuring that kids properly learn the game of tennis at their own pace while also having fun doing it. Anytime kids can get a true feel for the game, it is best,” said Graf.

 

“10 and Under Tennis gives children the opportunity to experience authentic court movement, swing patterns and game strategy. It is real tennis and a step in the right direction to getting more young kids involved in the game that I love,” said Agassi.

 

The commercial spot was created by the Richmond-based agency, Martin Agency. The Martin Agency has created several of USTA’s past campaigns, including the US Open: It Must Be Love campaign.

 

For more information on 10 and Under Tennis, visit 10andundertennis.com

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