Blake added to WTT lineup
September 22, 2015
New York, N.Y. — Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King have finalized their teams for the 23rd annual Mylan WTT Smash Hits, a charity tennis event set for October 12 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The two longtime friends have selected their lineups with Elton John taking Andy Roddick to head up his squad, while Las Vegas residents and Hall of Famers Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf will lead Team Billie Jean. The one-night event will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN).
Joining Roddick on Team Elton are former world No. 1s and Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport, along with American Mardy Fish. King rounded out her roster with a third Hall of Famer, Tracy Austin, and added former world No. 4 James Blake to join Graf and Agassi on her team.
Blake, who won 10 singles and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour, is also considered one of tennis’ most inspirational athletes. Blake staged a comeback in 2005 after suffering a fractured neck and illness and also started the James Blake Foundation to support early detection cancer research. Blake has played nine seasons of Mylan World TeamTennis and returns for his second Smash Hits event.
The all-star player lineup, which includes five Hall of Fame members, represents more than 700 singles and doubles titles plus 100 Grand Slam Championships and six Olympic medals.
The players will form two teams, coached by King and John, and play a Mylan World TeamTennis match including one set each of men’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. Sets are first to five games with a 9-point tiebreaker at 4-4. Game scoring is no-ad and cumulative throughout the match. The evening is expected to begin with a celebrity doubles match featuring Elton John. The night will close with a singles set between Roddick and Blake. The two Americans faced off 12 times on the ATP World Tour with Roddick holding the lead 9-3.
Men’s doubles will include an all-American lineup with Roddick and Fish pairing up for Team Elton against Agassi and Blake for Team Billie Jean. Women’s doubles will showcase four Hall of Famers sharing the court when Davenport and Navratilova lead Team Elton against Graf and Austin. One of the evening’s highlights will be the mixed doubles set featuring Team Billie Jean’s Agassi and Graf taking on Fish and Navratilova.
Tennis action is set for 7:00 p.m. on a specially-constructed tennis court in the valet parking lot adjacent to Caesars Palace Drive. The overall series is tied 11-11 after Team Billie Jean posted a 22-16 victory over Team Elton in London last year.
Tickets for Mylan WTT Smash Hits are selling quickly for the event’s first appearance in Las Vegas. Only a limited number of premium reserved chair back seats remain at $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.
Special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the pre-match 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.
Caesars Palace, which is home to Elton John’s hit show “The Million Dollar Piano,” will also be offering packages that include tickets to Elton’s show and special room rates. All available packages are listed at WTT.com/SmashHotel.
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, AmerisourceBergen, Aon Hewitt, BICP, Centerview Partners, Cognizant, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, DecoTurf, Ernst & Young, Forevermark, GEICO, Goldman Sachs & Co., Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, KPMG, Macy’s, Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, McGuireWoods LLP, Perkins Coie LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RR Donnelley, Wilson, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Wipro. Media partners include News 3, The CW Las Vegas, 97.1 The Point, ESPN radio 1100/100.9, Cox Communications and WG Communications Group.
TEAM LINEUPS & MATCH SCHEDULE (subject to change)
ORDER OF PLAY:
*Celebrity set does not count towards final match score.
For more information on Mylan WTT Smash Hits, visit WTTSmashHits.com.
For more information on the Elton John AIDS Foundation, visit EJAF.org.