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ESPN's Cliff Drysdale to Emcee 'Legends Ball' to Benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame on September 5 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City

NEW YORK, NY - Cliff Drysdale, one of the most prominent and respected voices of tennis will emcee the 28th annual “Legends Ball” to benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame on September 5 beginning at 6:30 pm at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

Drysdale has been with ESPN since its inception in 1979. One week after ESPN’s debut, he was covering their first Davis Cup broadcast. A respected analyst and commentator, he was also an accomplished player reaching a career-high rank of No. 4. Drysdale was also the first player with a two-handed backhand to advance to the U.S. National Championships final in 1965. A Roland Garros and Wimbledon semifinalist in 1965 and 1966, he defeated Rod Laver in the fourth round of the 1968 U.S. Nationals, just weeks after Laver won Wimbledon and a year before the legendary Laver would sweep his second Grand Slam. In addition to his six finishes in the top 10, Drysdale was a respected doubles player who partnered with Roger Taylor to capture the 1972 US Open doubles title. Born in Nelspruit, Transvaal in the Republic of South Africa in 1941, he attended college in the United States and later became a U.S. citizen and founded Cliff Drysdale Tennis - a resort, hotel and club tennis management firm.

The legendary guest list for the September 5 event also includes, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Virginia Wade, Vic Seixas, Tony Trabert, Mats Wilander, Stan Smith, Boris Becker, Guillermo Vilas, Jim Courier, Richard “Dick” Savitt, and Michael Chang.

In addition to dining with Hall of Fame players, the more than 600 tennis aficionados in attendance will be entertained by EMI/ERG recording artist Wendy Moten. The native of Memphis, Tenn., has performed with the likes of Michael Bolton, Debbie Gibson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

The Legends Ball, held annually since 1980, brings the tennis world together to celebrate the history of the game and honor some of the sport’s great contributors all while raising money for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. A legendary line-up of tennis greats will be in attendance, including more than a dozen Hall of Famers, tennis dignitaries, the event’s Player Co-Chairs Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Owen Davidson plus Co-Chairs, Phil de Picciotto, President of Octagon Athletes & Personalities, Alexander M. Seaver, Managing Director of Stadium Capital Management LLC, and Peter Palandjian, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

In addition to honoring the “Class of 2008” - Michael Chang, Mark McCormack and Eugene L. Scott — the event will also feature Barbara Walters presenting the third annual Eugene L. Scott Award to Billie Jean King. Previous honorees have included Andre Agassi (2007) and John McEnroe (2006). Sony Ericsson will be recognized for their ongoing contribution to tennis with the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award. Last year, Rolex was recognized with the Cullman Award and in 2006, the French company BNP Paribas received the inaugural award.

Guests will also have the opportunity to bid upon once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique items in a silent and live auction with all proceeds benefiting the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Some of the nearly 50 items up for bids include: hit sessions with Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Jim Courier; tennis lessons from Mats Wilander and Tracy Austin; tickets to a host of Grand Slam events including the 2009 French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open; exotic vacation packages to the Bahamas, Cabo San Lucas, Doha, Karma Bay Jamaica and Knysna South Africa; golf outings at top are courses such as Winged Foot Golf Club, the Stanwich Club, Plainfield Country Club and Trump National.

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to learn more about the event, call 212-843-1740 or e-mail legendsball@hgnyc.com. The mission of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, based in Newport, RI, is to preserve the history of tennis, inspire and encourage junior tennis development, enshrine tennis heroes and heroines and provide a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide.

 

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