John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport will headline the annual charity tennis event co-hosted by longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King. 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.
The 2015 Las Vegas debut of WTT Smash Hits at Caesars Palace was just that – a smash hit in front of a capacity crowd that raised more than $1 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Since 1993, WTT Smash Hits has raised more than $14 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local AIDS charities. Caesars Palace, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is also home to Elton John’s hit show, “The Million Dollar Piano.”
“It is always such a great pleasure to co-host this wonderful event with my dear friend Billie Jean King, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to Caesars Palace for some more amazing tennis,” said Sir Elton John. “This family-friendly event helps to raise awareness about the continuing challenges of the AIDS epidemic both locally and nationally and to raise urgently needed dollars for community-based HIV prevention, education, advocacy, 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.”
“Last year’s WTT Smash Hits in Las Vegas was one of the most electric and entertaining events of the year, and I look forward to being part of an even bigger event this October at Caesars Palace,” said Billie Jean King. “While the tennis is always competitive, one of my favorite parts about this annual event is the work we do for the HIV/AIDS community globally and especially here in Las Vegas. I look forward to being part of Smash Hits every year because it really is the complete package of sport, entertainment and community support.”
“We are honored once again to host World Team Tennis Smash Hits for the second time in Las Vegas,” said Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner. “This prestigious event will be an extraordinary edition to our exciting year here at Caesars Palace as we celebrate the resort’s 50th anniversary. Throughout the past 50 years, Caesars Palace has earned its title as the ‘Home of Champions’ by hosting hundreds of signature sporting events featuring some of the legendary athletes and sports figures of all-time. WTT Smash Hits is another groundbreaking event to add to our illustrious history. We thank Billie Jean King and our resident headliner Elton John for including Caesars Palace in their noble cause.”
The evening begins with a pre-match VIP Reception and Auction at 5:00 p.m. at Caesars Palace with the match start set for 7 p.m. A limited number of special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the VIP Reception and Auction, are 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.
Sponsorship packages are also available by contacting Natalee Jarrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 586-3444 x. 111.
Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play a 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. Last year, Team Elton took a 12-11 edge in the overall series with a 17-11 win over Team Billie Jean.
McEnroe, a former world No. 1 in both singles and doubles, joins the 2016 all-star field. During his career on the ATP Tour, the Hall of Famer won 77 singles and 71 doubles titles. McEnroe holds seven Grand Slam singles titles including three Wimbledon Championships, four US Open Championships, and 10 Grand Slam doubles titles. This is the 7th Smash Hits event for McEnroe, who is also a popular tennis television commentator and founded the New York City-based John McEnroe Tennis Academy.
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 12th appearance. During her storied career, the Hall of Famer won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, 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 the 12th 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.
Davenport, who was also ranked No. 1 in the world in both singles and doubles, returns for her fifth Smash Hits event. She is a three-time Grand Slam singles champion (1998 US Open, 1999 Wimbledon, 2000 Australian Open) and also won three Grand Slam doubles titles (1996 French Open, 1997 US Open, 1999 Wimbledon). Davenport won 55 singles titles and 38 doubles titles during her pro career and also captured the gold medal in singles at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014.
Official event sponsors include host sponsor Caesars Palace. Additional sponsors and partners include Core Academy, DecoTurf, GEICO, Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation and Wilson. Ryan Wolfington and USTA Nevada are promotional partners of WTT Smash Hits.
Tickets for WTT Smash Hits go on sale at 10 a.m. Pacific on Monday, July 18. All seating will be reserved and have chairbacks. VIP seats, which include admission to the pre-match VIP Reception and Live Auction, are $500. For the tennis action only, Premium Reserved chairback seats are $125, and Reserved chairback seats are $55. 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 212-586-3444, x. 121.
For more information on WTT Smash Hits, visit www.WTTSmashHits.com.
For more information on the Elton John AIDS Foundation, visit www.EJAF.org.