Washington Life proudly sponsors the sold-out WTT Smash Hits, founded by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King to fight HIV/AIDS.
By John Arundel
On Monday, longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King bring their annual WTT Smash Hits charity night of tennis to Washington 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 this Monday, Nov. 15, at American University’s Bender Arena.
Tickets for the one-night event are now sold out.
Smash Hits has raised more than $9.6 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and various local AIDS charities since 1993. Monday’s event will also benefit 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.
The music legend will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event.
“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.
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 recently announced that Agassi has been nominated to be inducted in the Class of 2011.
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 eight 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 second 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.