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Stars Coming to DC for Charity Event

New York, N.Y. — Longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King are bringing their annual WTT Smash Hits charity night of tennis to the nation’s capital for the first time in the event’s 18-year history. Tennis greats Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Anna Kournikova and James Blake will join other top players for WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO on Monday, Nov. 15, at Bender Arena on the campus of American University in Washington, D.C. Tickets for the one-night event go on sale on Tuesday, September 7, at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Smash Hits has raised more than $9.6 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. This year’s event will benefit EJAF and the Washington AIDS Partnership. The funds raised at the pre-match Smash Hits VIP Reception and Auction will be specifically targeted for local programs. The District of Columbia now suffers the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the United States and an HIV infection rate 12 times the national average.

Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play five sets of World TeamTennis (WTT). The music legend will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Additional participants will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

“We are so thrilled to bring Smash Hits to our nation’s capital this year,” said WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. “This is the perfect venue for us to raise the awareness of HIV and AIDS and we are excited to build upon the growing support in the community for WTT.” Washington D.C. is also home to the Washington Kastles, one of the 10 teams in the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO.

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Tickets, which range from $40-$120, go on sale at 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, September 7. General admission seats are $40. Reserved bleacher seats are $60, and reserved courtside seats range from $100 to $120. Order tickets through the American University online box office at www.aueagles.com/tickets or visit www.WTT.com/SmashHits for more information. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, call 202/552-5999.

Special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the Smash Hits 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 ticket packages or for more information, call 202/552-5999.

Although this will be Agassi’s 11th Smash Hits, it’s his first appearance at the event since 2004. The 8-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 is well-known for his philanthropy, including founding the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas. The International Tennis Hall of Fame also announced today that Agassi has been nominated to be inducted in the 2011 Hall of Fame Class.

This is the first Smash Hits appearance for Stefanie Graf, considered one of the greatest players in tennis history. The Hall of Famer won 107 singles titles before retiring in 1999, including 22 Grand Slam singles championships and an Olympic gold medal. Graf and her husband Andre Agassi have two children, daughter Jaz and son Jaden.

Kournikova, a longtime supporter of Smash Hits, is returning for her 8th consecutive event. The former world No. 1 in doubles recently completed her 8th WTT Pro League season, playing for the St. Louis Aces.

This is the 2nd Smash Hits event for Blake, who has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world in singles and has won 10 career singles titles on the ATP Tour. Blake, who played for the Boston Lobsters this summer, helped lead the U.S. to the 2007 Davis Cup title.

For more information on WTT Smash Hits, visit www.WTT.com/SmashHits.

WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO - AT A GLANCE:

WHAT:

Charity tennis event co-hosted by longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King

BENEFITS:

Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Washington AIDS Partnership

WHEN:

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 7 p.m. Eastern

WHERE:

Bender Arena at American University in Washington, D.C.

WHO:

Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King will each captain teams that include Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Anna Kournikova, James Blake and others.

TICKETS:

$40-$120. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. Eastern. Order tickets through the American University online box office at www.aueagles.com/tickets or visit www.WTT.com/SmashHits for more information. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, call 202/552-5999.

VIP RECEPTION:

$500. Special VIP tickets packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the Smash Hits VIP Reception and Auction. John, King and all players will participate in the pre-match live auction. To buy VIP ticket packages or for more information, call 202/552-5999.

2010 WTT SMASH HITS presented by GEICO - Organizations & Charities

About Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)

The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established in the United States in 1992 (EJAF-US) and in the United Kingdom in 1993 (EJAF-UK) by founder and Chairman Sir Elton John. Together, both entities have raised over $220 million for worthy programs in 55 countries around the globe since inception. Today, EJAF is one of the world’s leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations supporting innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. EJAF-US’s current grant-making priorities target HIV prevention programs in the Southern United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America; HIV prevention and care services for highly marginalized and vulnerable populations; and HIV/AIDS prevention education and the promotion of sexual health for adolescents. For more information, please visit www.ejaf.org.

About World TeamTennis (WTT):

World TeamTennis (WTT) showcases both the best in professional and recreational team tennis with the innovative coed team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. The WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which celebrated its 35th season in July 2010, is a showcase for three generations of tennis standouts, including legends, current tour players and future champions. Since the League’s debut in 1974, virtually every major champion of the Open era has played World TeamTennis. The WTT Recreational League also operates coed team leagues and events. The United States Tennis Association is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis. For more information, visit www.WTT.com.

About Washington AIDS Partnership:

The Washington AIDS Partnership, an initiative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, is the largest private funder of HIV/AIDS prevention, education and advocacy services in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, awarding over $1 million annually. With a staff of two and a twenty-two member advisory committee of funders, experts and individuals living with HIV/AIDS o guide their work, the Partnership invests resources in local organizations to improve HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and care services in the Washington, DC region. Activities include helping organizations build capacity, facilitating local public policy initiatives to improve HIV/AIDS services, and supporting volunteer service at local HIV/AIDS agencies through AmeriCorps. The Washington AIDS Partnerships is a Community Partnership of the National AIDS Fund. For more information, visit washingtonaidspartnership.org.

 

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