|John McEnroe, Mark Philippoussis, Taylor Johnson, Maria Sharapova, Billie Jean King, Sir Elton John, Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Liezel Huber|
|Elton John & Billie Jean|
The 2016 edition of Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King’s annual charity tennis pushed the 24-year total to more than $15 million to support HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs. On the court, Team Elton got the best of Team Billie Jean with a 19-14 victory in the four-set showdown.
A capacity crowd watched Maria Sharapova’s highly-anticipated appearance as she opened the night pairing up with Andy Roddick for a set of celebrity doubles against Elton John and Martina Navratilova. Sharapova and Roddick got the best of John and Navratilova 3-1 in an entertaining quick set that preceded the World TeamTennis match.
Team Elton took the lead in the first set of the night and never looked back en route to their second consecutive victory and an overall 13-11 series lead. Sharapova and 16-year-old junior Taylor Johnson teamed up in Sharapova’s return to the court but it was the veteran doubles experience of Martina Navratilova and Liezel Huber that took the first set for Team Elton, 5-2.
Former U.S. Davis Cup teammates Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish were too strong for Team Billie Jean’s duo of John McEnroe and Mark Philippoussis in men’s doubles, winning the second set for Team Elton 5-3.
Roddick and Philippoussis faced off in a battle of big serves in men’s singles. Roddick held off Philippoussis 5-3 to build Team Elton’s lead to 15-8 after three sets.
McEnroe and Sharapova rallied in mixed doubles, winning the first set of the night for Team Billie Jean with a 5-3 victory over Roddick and Navratilova and sending the match into Extended Play. Team Billie Jean won the first game in Extended Play but Roddick and Navratilova closed out the set and match by winning the next game for Team Elton.
The evening started with all the players participating in a live auction that raised more than $150,000 of the evening’s totals. The players were active bidders in the auction, with Sharapova winning a ticket package for the Broadway hit “Hamilton” and John McEnroe buying an autographed Elton John piano bench.
The stars were out in Las Vegas on Monday night to support WTT Smash Hits as avid tennis fans and Las Vegas residents Gladys Knight and Mike Tyson took in the action on the multi-colored tennis court just steps away from where Elton John plays his hit show, “The Million Dollar Piano” at Caesars Palace. International recording artists The Tenors opened the night by performing the national anthem.
Official event sponsors include host sponsor Caesars Palace and presenting sponsor Citi. Additional sponsors and partners include AmerisourceBergen, Cashman Photo, Core Academy, DecoTurf, Donnelley Financial Solutions, Fanatics, GEICO, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, KXNT News/Talk Radio & CBS Sports Radio - Las Vegas, Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, NBC & The CW - Las Vegas, WG Communications Group, Wilson and XS Tennis - Chicago. Ryan Wolfington and USTA Nevada are promotional partners of WTT Smash Hits.
For more on WTT Smash Hits, visit www.WTTSmashHits.com.
For more information on the Elton John AIDS Foundation, visit www.EJAF.org.
Photo Credit - CameraworkUSA