Stars headline WTT event
July 21, 2015
New York, N.Y. — One of tennis’ most star-studded charity events is coming to Las Vegas for the first time this fall, courtesy of Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King. Four former world No. 1s – Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Martina Navratilova and Andy Roddick – will headline Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) Smash Hits on Monday, Oct. 12 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where Elton performs his hit show, “The Million Dollar Piano.”
Tickets for Mylan WTT Smash Hits go on sale at 10 a.m. PT on Thursday, July 23. Premium reserved chair back seats are $125, and general admission seats are $45. Order tickets through www.WTTSmashHits.com or axs.com, or by calling The Colosseum at Caesars Palace box office at (866) 320-9763 or AXS at (888) 929-7849. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, call USTA Nevada at (702) 792-8384 x. 101.
Tennis action is set to begin at 7 p.m. on a specially-constructed tennis court in the valet parking lot adjacent to Caesars Palace Drive. This year’s annual event will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN). A portion of the funds raised at the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction will be specifically targeted for local programs.
Longtime friends King and John first brought together the music and tennis worlds for this event in 1993 and have served as the event coaches and co-hosts ever since. Since 1993, Mylan WTT Smash Hits has raised more than $13 million for EJAF and various local AIDS charities throughout the United States. This is the first time in the event’s 23-year history that it will be staged in Las Vegas.
“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 Aid for AIDS of Nevada 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 tennis fans and concerned citizens in the Las Vegas area to support this event and bring their families for a wonderful evening of tennis for a great cause.”
“It is great to have Mylan WTT Smash Hits back in the U.S. and even better that we are making our first trip to Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world,” said Billie Jean King. “Smash Hits is one of my favorite and most meaningful events of the year and we are looking forward to a successful and entertaining night this October at Caesars Palace.”
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch commented: “We are very excited to return as the title sponsor for this year’s Mylan WTT Smash Hits event in Las Vegas. Under Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King’s leadership, WTT continues to help accelerate the world’s fight against HIV/AIDS and this event represents a powerful opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the cause. At Mylan, we share WTT’s passion for making a difference. Our mission to set new standards in healthcare and provide the world’s 7 billion people access to high quality medicine is reflected, for example, in the nearly 50% of HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries who depend on a Mylan antiretroviral therapy. We look forward to a great event and Mylan WTT’s continued success.”
“We are proud to host the return of Billie Jean King to Caesars Palace in the prestigious Mylan WTT Smash Hits, marking the event’s first time in Las Vegas,” said Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner. “Throughout its nearly 50 years, Caesars Palace has a long-standing tradition and reputation for hosting major tennis tournaments including the Alan King Tennis Classic for more than 13 years beginning in 1972 with world-class athletes including Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Continuing in 1975, the historic mixed doubles match was held with Billie Jean King, who played alongside Marty Riessen against Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. The hard courts created for these tremendous matches will once again be constructed – this time in front of Caesars Palace near our iconic fountains. It’s our honor to support Billie Jean King, our resident headliner Elton John, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and locally, AFAN in this very worthy cause.”
The evening begins with a pre-match VIP Reception and Auction at 5:30 p.m. at Caesars Palace, with tennis action set for 7 p.m. 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 Reception ticket packages or for more information, call AFAN at (702) 383-8081.
Sponsorship packages are also available by contacting Natalee Jarrett at [email protected] (212) 586-3444 x. 111.
Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play a Mylan WTT match featuring singles and doubles action. 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. The overall series is tied 11-11 between Team Elton and Team Billie Jean. Team Billie Jean won the 2014 event in London with a 22-16 victory.
This will be the 13th 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 third 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. Graf is very active with her charity Children for Tomorrow, a non-profit foundation with the aim of supporting children and families who have become victims of war, persecution and organized violence.
Navratilova, a 59-time Grand Slam champion in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, was one of the participants in the first Smash Hits event in 1993 and will be making her 11th appearance. 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 177 doubles titles.
Roddick returns to Smash Hits for an 11th time. The popular American standout won 30 singles titles on the ATP World Tour, including the 2003 US Open, and was ranked in the top 10 for nine consecutive years. Along with Venus Williams, Roddick is part of the WTT Ownership Group. He also founded the Andy Roddick Foundation which works to expand opportunities for young people to learn, thrive and succeed.
Official event sponsors include title sponsor Mylan and host sponsor Caesars Palace. Ryan Wolfington and USTA Nevada are promotional partners of Mylan WTT Smash Hits. Additional sponsors and partners include Adecco, DecoTurf, Forevermark, GEICO, Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation and Wilson.
For more information on Mylan WTT Smash Hits, visit WTTSmashHits.com.
For more information on the Elton John AIDS Foundation, visit EJAF.org.