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Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King Bringing WTT Smash Hits Charity Tennis Event To Cleveland on October 27

August 16, 2011 11:44 AM
Smash Hits Charity Tennis Event

Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Amelie Mauresmo first to sign on

Longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King are bringing their annual World TeamTennis Smash Hits charity night of tennis to Cleveland for the first time in the event’s 19-year history. Tennis greats Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova and Amelie Mauresmo will join other top players for WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Public Hall in Cleveland. Tickets for the one-night event go on sale on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 10 a.m. Eastern. The event is produced by World TeamTennis in association with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Smash Hits has raised more than $10 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. This year’s event will benefit EJAF and the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. The funds raised at the pre-match Smash Hits VIP Reception will be specifically targeted for local programs.
Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play a match using the World TeamTennis (WTT) coed team format. The music legend will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Additional participants will be announced in the upcoming weeks. King and John have split the series so far with nine wins each.
“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 AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland 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 Cleveland area to support this event and bring their families for a wonderful evening of tennis for a great cause.”
"It is great for Elton and I to return to Cleveland and we are looking forward to a night of competitive and entertaining tennis,” said King. “WTT Smash Hits is much more than a tennis event. It's a way for us to give back to the local community and make an impact by generating awareness and much needed financial support for HIV and AIDS. We hope the Greater Cleveland area will help us reach those goals and support Smash Hits."
"This year the AIDS Task Force created a commemoration video in which people shared their reflections on 30 years of AIDS. The Smash Hits event will help ensure that resources remain available to help fight this terrible disease. Congratulations to the Sports Commission for attracting such an important event to the city of Cleveland," said Mayor Frank G. Jackson, City of Cleveland.
“The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission is thrilled to work with World TeamTennis in bringing this high-profile event to Cleveland. Beyond being an evening of great entertainment, it will benefit such a worthy cause and support our local community in a tremendous way all while showcasing Cleveland,” stated David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Roddick, who is playing in his 7th Smash Hits event, is a former world No. 1 and continues to be one of the most successful players on the ATP Tour. Roddick 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 enhance educational and economic opportunities for all children based on the principles of respect for family, education and morality.
Navratilova, a 59-time Grand Slam champion in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, will be making her 9th Smash Hits appearance. Navratilova spent 156 consecutive weeks as the world’s No. 1 singles player and shares the all-time Wimbledon record of 20 titles with WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. During her storied career, the Hall of Famer won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Navratilova holds 167 singles titles, more than any other player, male or female and 178 doubles titles. She is also one of the most successful WTT players in League history, leading her teams to five championships during her 20 seasons. Navratilova impressed off the court as she publicly dealt with a breast cancer diagnosis last year. Navratilova continued to play tennis and commentate for Tennis Channel during her months of radiation.
This is the first Smash Hits event for Mauresmo. In 2004, she became the first French woman tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Mauresmo won two Grand Slam singles titles during her career, the 2006 Wimbledon Championships and the 2006 Australian Open title. Mauresmo has won 25 singles titles and 3 doubles titles during her WTA career. She has also represented France in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
For more information on WTT Smash Hits, visit www.WTT.com/SmashHits.