Tennis Greats and Celebrities Attend ITHF Benefit

September 15, 2009

NEW YORK, NY — Even though there was no tennis played at the US Open on Friday, September 11, 2009, VIPs and celebrity fans still gathered to honor the sport’s contributors and history at the 29th annual “Legends Ball,” to benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, on Friday, September 11 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

The star-studded guest list included more than a dozen tennis Hall of Famers such as: Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Jimmy Connors, Tracy Austin, Mary Joe Fernandez, Pam Shriver, Maria Bueno, Tony Trabert, Stan Smith, Donald Dell, Fred Stolle, Butch Bucholtz, Vic Seixas, Dick Savitt plus celebrity tennis fans such as Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, Whoopi Goldberg, Miss USA Kristen Dalton and Real Housewives of New York City cast members Jill Zarin, Ramona Singer and their husbands. Roberts served as emcee for the star-studded event.

The special night of celebration, held annually since 1980, honors a bevy of tennis luminaries and the Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2009 -Dell, Andres Gimeno, the late Dr. Robert Johnson and Seles. In addition, Connors presented Tennis Channel Chairman/CEO Ken Solomon with the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award, the Eugene L. Scott Award was awarded to the late Arthur Ashe and his wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe by Whoopi Goldberg; and Austin presented the International Lawn Tennis Club of the USA Daznig Award to Navratilova and the Johnston Award to Stolle.

A live and silent auction raised more than $130,000 for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Some of the more prominent items included: a hit session with Monica Seles $18,000); at hit session with Jim Courier ($6,000), accommodations, travel and tickets to the men’s and women’s finals of Wimbledon $15,000), the French Open ($14,000) and the 2010 Australian Open ($9500). In addition 40 guests stepped-up to donate a combined $25,000 to pre-pay admission for every child visiting the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum next year.