Archive for the 'world team tennis' Category


WTT raises over $500,000 for EJ’s AIDS Foundation.

Tennis’ top names rallied for charity at WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO on Monday night at American University in Washington, D.C., raising more than $500,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Washington AIDS Partnership. Team Billie Jean defeated Team Elton 19-15 to tie their overall series at 9-9. In its 18-year history, WTT Smash Hits has raised more than $10 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local charities throughout the U.S. Captained by longtime friends Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John, the Smash Hits players formed two teams and faced off in a modified World TeamTennis match, playing one set each of men’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Sir Elton John started the evening off in style in a celebrity set by teaming with tennis great Martina Navratilova for a 4-1 win over the husband and wife tandem of Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf. Elton John delighted the sellout crowd with his solid forehand play, including several winners. The WTT match kicked off with men’s doubles as Agassi partnered with Jan-Michael Gambill to face Mark Philippoussis and Eric Butorac. With a strong showing from both sides, Team Elton prevailed defeating Team Billie 5-4. The women’s doubles set pitted Anna Kournikova and Graf up against Navratilova and Rennae Stubbs, with Billie Jean’s players taking the set 5-3 and the lead over Elton’s team. At the halfway point, Team Billie Jean held a 9-8 lead which was extended when Philippoussis posted a 5-3 win over Agassi in men’s singles to increase the margin to 14-11. With the match on the line in the final set of mixed doubles, Agassi and Kournikova fought off Navratilova and Philippoussis through four games, taking the set to a tiebreak, but their effort fell just short in forcing overtime. The 5-4 win for Team Billie Jean King gave them the match with a final score of 19-15.

Before the on-court action began, the co-hosts and players attended a pre-match reception and live auction, which raised $267,000 of the evening’s total. The top auction items of the night were the two popular Billie Jean King Wimbledon Packages, which King served up for $32,000 each. Another coveted item was a hitting session with Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf – a package that went for $50,000. Other auction items were a 2011 Super Bowl Package, two Elton John-signed piano benches and a French Open package. Fifty percent of the funds raised by the auction will support programs in Washington AIDS Partnership.


WTT Smash Hits is coming to D.C. on Nov.15.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King and music superstar Sir Elton John are teaming up for their annual charity event — the 18th annual WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO on November 15, 2010 at the Bender Arena at American University in Washington, D.C. This star studded event will raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local Washington, D.C. Area AIDS charities.

Billie Jean King and Elton John will each captain a team composed of tennis champions Andre Agassi, James Blake, Stefanie Graf, Anna Kounikova, Martina Navratilova and more who will play the World TeamTennis format. In 2009, Elton John won his 9th overall Smash Hits 16 -13 as Tommy Haas defeated Andy Roddick 5 – 2 in the final set. Despite a strong showing by Team King, Tommy Haas was just too much as he won all three of his sets. Even though it did not count towards the overall match score, Elton John and Serena Williams defeated Andy Roddick and Anna Kournikova 4 – 3 in a celebrity match to open the night.

Last year’s event raised $640,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and AIDS charities serving the Greater Baton Rouge area. Smash Hits has raised more than $9 million for EJAF and various local AIDS charities since 1993.


Anna K. blogs from WTT Smash Hits.

Hi Everyone!

I just returned from Smash Hits 2009 in Baton Rouge. This was my 7th consecutive year playing and I have to say I think this was the best year yet, so many amazing players and in such a great city! This year’s event not only benefitted the Elton John AIDS Foundation but also several local Baton Rouge AIDS charities. We raised $640,000!

First, I played in the celebrity match with Andy Roddick against Serena Williams and Elton John. Although Serena and Elton won we still had the best time on the court. Playing with Elton is always a blast! Next up was Team Elton vs. Team Billie Jean… I was played in the women’s double match for Team Elton with Serena against Liezel Huber and Lindsay Davenport, it was great to be on the court with such great players. This was my first time playing with Serena, we had a so much fun being on the same side of the court. It was also great to be able to catch up Lindsay and Serena in the locker room!

It was a great night, especially with Team Elton beating out Team Billie Jean 16-13! I always love participating in this event, it is for such a great cause!


WTT Smash Hits raise a bundle for Aids charities.

They laid down a DecoTurf court on the floor of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, rolled out waves of racquet-wielding star power and transformed the Deaf Dome into a tennis fan’s fantasy.

On one end of LSU’s basketball arena, Billie Jean King watched Andy Roddick produce laser-beam serves and Lindsay Davenport, a three-time Grand Slam singles champ, chase Serena Williams backhands.

On the other, Sir Elton John, who generally rocks such venues from a piano bench, coached a team that included Anna Kournikova and Williams, the world’s No. 1 female player.

Welcome to the 17th World TeamTennis Smash Hits, Tuesday night’s fundraiser to benefit the Elton John AIDs foundation and various AIDs charities in the Baton Rouge area.

“Just being around these guys,” said NCAA singles champion Devin Britton, a former Ole Miss star who turned pro this summer, “it’s been fun for me.”

The PMAC has seen its share of big names, no doubt. But the likes of Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit and Shaquille O’Neal, whose numbers hang from the arena’s rafters, never volleyed and served.

Presented by the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation and hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Smash Hits gave the community’s tennis junkies the chance of a lifetime.

Roddick and the others entertained the crowd of 4,317 with humor as much as skill. Especially Roddick, who wore a white cap backward and smiled most of the night.

“You think you can boss me around?” Roddick snarled, jokingly, when doubles partner Kournikova gave him some ribbing during a celebrity doubles match to begin the event.

But it wasn’t all good fun and good tennis.

Smash Hits entered its 17th year looking to build on the more than $9 million it has raised for the Elton John AIDs Foundation and various AIDs charities in host cities. Its first appearance in Louisiana came in part because Baton Rouge and New Orleans have some of the nation’s highest rates of reported AIDs cases.

The event raised $640,000, the most since 2005 in Hershey, Pa. More than $200,000 will go to local AIDs charities.

“I knew when I was 12 that I wanted to make a difference,” said King, one of the most influential sports figures of her time. “Tennis ended up being my platform.”

King’s ties to Smash Hits go through John, whose friendship with King dates to her “Battle of the Sexes” breakthrough.

In the 1970s, John wrote “Philadelphia Freedom” for King.

Partners in Smash Hits since 1993, the two became rivals — they do so once a year — when their teams stepped onto the DecoTurf court for Tuesday’s main event.

Team Elton: Jan-Michael Gambill, Tommy Haas, Kournikova and Williams.

Team Billie Jean: Roddick, Britton, Davenport, Liezel Huber and Chanda Rubin, a Lafayette native once ranked sixth in the world.

And though it’s all in good fun, John, who wore an LSU tennis shirt, and King had a score to settle: each star coached the winning team eight times in 16 previous Smash Hits meetings.

“If we win,” King said before the match, “I can give Elton a bad time the next 365 days. I love to give him a bad time.”

Team Elton won 5-4, 1-5, 5-2 in a modified WTT format to give his team a 9-8 series advantage.

But Tuesday, John and King provided a good time. For a good cause.

They transformed a basketball arena into a playground, a talent show and a fundraising venue.

“Thank you Baton Rouge,” John said into a microphone during a break in play. “Thank you so much.”

Courtesy   Scott Howard  The Advocate


WTT Smash Hits, Baton Rouge, Dec 8th.

The 66-year-old King’s tennis playing days are over, thanks to knee replacement surgery. But she’s excited about getting to watch the lineup coming to Baton Rouge on Dec 8th., a city she played an exhibition match in 20 years ago. That list includes Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, Lindsay Davenport, Liezel Huber, Devin Britton and Louisiana’s own Chanda Rubin. Next season Martina Hingis is rumoured to be joining the WTT league.

“I love Chanda,” King said. “She’s given back so much; I’m so glad she’s going to be part of Smash Hits. It’s just a great lineup … one of the best we’ve had in years.”

The players will form the two teams captained by King and John, who will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event.

Prior to the match, special VIP ticket holders can meet King and John at a reception and silent auction beginning at 5 p.m. Proceeds from the $1,000 per person get-together benefit local AIDS charities.


Chanda Rubin making a comeback.

rubin 2Chanda Rubin of Lafayette, who has often been recognized for her community service, will be back on the tennis court for a charity on Dec. 8 for Advanta WTT Smash Hits at LSU’s Maravich Assembly Center.

Co-hosted by longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, the 17th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits is a charity tennis event that raises funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Baton Rouge AIDS charities. Rubin joins an all-star field including Andy Roddick, Anna Kournikova, Lindsay Davenport, No. 18 Tommy Haas and world doubles No. 1 Liezel Huber.

Rubin has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world in singles. She has won seven singles and 10 doubles titles during her WTA career, including the 1996 Australian Open doubles championship. Rubin has career singles wins over such elite players as Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin, Amelie Mauresmo and Serena Williams. She also represented the United States in the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Rubin has been lauded for her philanthropy throughout her career, having received the Arthur Ashe Leadership Award and Family Circle Player Who Makes A Difference award for her community service.


‘Advanta WTT Smash Hits’…..Dec 8th!


Anna Kournikova, one of the world’s most popular athletes, and Tommy Haas, ranked No. 18 in singles on the ATP Tour, have been added to the lineup for Advanta WTT Smash Hits, the charity tennis event co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King. Kournikova and Haas will join Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport and world doubles No. 1 Liezel Huber on December 8 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge.

Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play the World TeamTennis format. John will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Haas and Roddick are expected to face off in the evening’s men’s singles showdown.

Haas, who was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in 2002, jumped back into the ATP top 20 this summer with a semifinal finish at Wimbledon where he posted a victory over world No. 4 Novak Djokovic before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer. Haas also won an Olympic silver medal in singles for Germany in 2000 and has won 12 career singles titles on the ATP Tour.

Kournikova, a longtime supporter of Advanta WTT Smash Hits, is a two-time Australian Open doubles champion and reached career high rankings of No. 1 in doubles and No. 8 in singles. During her career, Kournikova had singles wins over some of the top names in the sport, including Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis. This native Russian, who won 16 career WTA Tour doubles titles, also plays for the St. Louis Aces of the Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League.

 Reserved tickets are $30, $65 and $100, and are available through the LSU Box Office or by calling 800-960-8587. Tickets can be ordered online at


Kastles win WTT title…..looks like fun!


Olga Puchkova of the Washington Kastles held off three match points to defeat Vania King of the Springfield Lasers in the final set of the Advanta World TeamTennis Finals, leading Washington to a 23-20 win over Springfield and their first WTT Championship.

Trailing by two games heading into the final set, the Lasers were still exactly where they wanted to be – with their fate on the racquet of King, the League’s 2009 Female MVP. King had the opportunity to continue her season-long heroics but it was the Kastles’ Puchkova who sent the fans into a victory celebration with the upset 5-4 win over King.

The Kastles led from start to finish. Scott Oudsema of the Washington Kastles served three aces en route to a 5-3 win over Springfield’s Raven Klaasen in the opening set of men’s singles.

The League’s top two mixed doubles teams faced off in the second event. The Lasers went up a break early when 2009 Male MVP Leander Paes double-faulted in the opening game of the mixed doubles. The Kastles immediately broke Martin Damm’s serve to even the set at 1-1. Damm held serve the next time around to bring it back to 3-3. After evening up the match at 4-4, the Kastles rolled through the tiebreaker 5-1 for a 5-4 set win and an overall 10-7 lead.

Midway through the Advanta WTT Championship Finals on Sunday afternoon between the Washington Kastles and the Springfield Lasers, Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen implored his team to “play with a sense of urgency.” They did.

The Kastles built their lead to four games at halftime when Paes and Oudsema edged Damm and Klaasen 5-4 in men’s doubles to take a 15-11 lead into halftime.

King teamed with Liezel Huber to close the gap to two games with a 5-3 win over Olga Puchkova and Stubbs in women’s doubles.

Puchkova and King traded nervous service breaks in the first two games of the final set. King rallied to a 4-2 lead and three championship points before Puchkova staged her comeback to win the final and the championship. Puchkova credited her team and the Kastles crowd with pushing her to the victory. “It was amazing, it was awesome,” said Puchkova of the crowd chanting her name after she closed out King for the win. “The win boosted my confidence a lot. Hopefully this year I can build on this experience.”

“The team just never game up,” said Coach Jensen. “That’s what makes WTT so exciting.”

Kastles team owner Mark Ein called it the most exciting match he had ever seen. “It’s a dream come true to win this in front of our fans,” Ein said.

Springfield’s coach John-Laffnie de Jager said the difference in the match was Washington’s success with 3-all points but said the atmosphere and competition was vintage World TeamTennis. “This match is what WTT is all about,” said de Jager. “It was exciting.”

The Advanta WTT Finals MVP was the Kastles’ Scott Oudsema who had the highest winning percentage of any player in the Finals.


Chang off to a rough start with WTT.

_changChang’s WTT debut season with the Sacramento Capitals lasted two matches, both losses to Newport Beach.

So much for Sacramento having a marquee player, as the Breakers for the second time in as many days defeated the Capitals, 22-16, Saturday.

The crowd of 1,750 treated Chang, who in 1989 became the youngest male at 17 years, 3 months to win a Grand Slam singles title, with a round of applause.

Then the Breakers sent one of the oldest players on the WTT circuit home early, which he said is actually in Mission Viejo. At least, the 37-year-old Chang didn’t have to travel too far.

The match got off to another auspicious start for the Breakers (5-2), who are in second place in the Western Conference. Newport Beach went ahead, 10-5, after the first two sets.

Before Chang saw action, Newport Beach’s Julie Ditty and Kaes Van’t Hof beat Angela Hayes and Mark Knowles in mixed doubles, and Marie Eve-Pelletier defeated CoCo Vandeweghe in women’s singles.

The Breakers grabbed the momentum in the opening set, even though Sacramento (3-3) boasted a recent Wimbledon champ in Knowles.

Winning in mixed doubles in WTT action this year is proving to be much harder for Knowles to accomplish. After claiming a mixed doubles title at the All England Club last week, Knowles has dropped back-to-back mixed doubles sets.


Venus gearing up for 2009 World Team Tennis.

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