New York, N.Y. (October 29, 2013) —- Billie Jean King made history 40 years ago when she beat Bobby Riggs in the famous Battle of the Sexes match.
There may not be as much at stake this time around but next month King’s longtime friend and Mylan WTT Smash Hits co-host Sir Elton John and former world No. 1 Andy Roddick are hoping to even the gender score when they take on two of tennis’ top female stars in a celebration of the original showdown and to raise funds for AIDS charities.
John and Roddick will face off against Venus Williams and 2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli in a Battle of the Sexes celebrity doubles match to open up action at the 2013 Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.
While most of the world knows John as a music superstar, he is also an avid tennis fan who plays frequently and wrote the song “Philadelphia Freedom” for King in the 1970s. Over the past two decades, John and King have teamed up for Mylan WTT Smash Hits which has raised more than $11.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. This year’s 21st annual event will benefit EJAF and the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida. A portion of the funds raised at the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction will be specifically targeted for local programs.
John and King also announced the final two players for the Mylan WTT Smash Hits field – longtime New York Sportimes veteran Robert Kendrick and doubles world No. 15 Jean-Julien Rojer of the Springfield Lasers. Rojer was also the 2013 Mylan WTT Male MVP.
With the player field full, the two hosts also selected their squads. Team Elton will feature Roddick, Williams, Kendrick and rising young American Vicky Duval. Team Billie Jean includes Bartoli, John Isner, former junior world No. 1 Taylor Townsend and Rojer.
The two teams will play a Mylan WTT match which includes one set each of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Isner and Roddick are expected to face off in a pivotal men’s singles showdown.
Tennis action is set for 6 p.m. ET with the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction kicking off at 4:30 p.m. King and John have split the two-decade series with 10 wins each. Team Billie Jean topped Team Elton last year in Pittsburgh, 19-17, in an Overtime thriller.
For information on group tickets or tickets to the VIP Reception and Auction please call 407-574-2599. Tickets to the tennis match range from $50-$125 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. A number of discounted travel packages are available at www.orlandogaytravel.com/smashhits or by calling 321-800-3947.
Official sponsors include Mylan, GEICO, 1059 SUNNY FM, Adecco, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Alston & Bird LLP, ANZ, Bright House Media Strategies, Central Florida Press, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Credit Suisse, DecoTurf, Fields Auto Group, Forevermark Diamond, Goldman Sachs, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP, Macy’s, McGuireWoods LLP, Orlando Magazine, Planet Hollywood Foundation, Presidio, Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik LLP, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Smart City, Wells Fargo Foundation, Wiley Rein LLP, Wilson, Wipro and Zebra Coalition. Robert and Tricia Earl are the local hosts.
For more information on Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO, visit www.WTTSmashHits.com.
Rosie Crews, Mylan WTT (firstname.lastname@example.org), PH: 817-684-0366
Ben Yarrow, Elton John AIDS Foundation (email@example.com), PH: 718-596-6875
MEDIA CREDENTIALS: To apply for working media credentials, please visit www.WTT.com/SmashMedia and apply by Nov. 6.
2013 Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO – Organizations & Charities
About Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)
At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) we believe that AIDS can be beaten. We act on that belief by raising funds for effective programs and policies, and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people’s lives. Sir Elton John created EJAF over twenty years ago, first in the United States in 1992 and then in the United Kingdom in 1993. Through hard work and with the help of our network of kind, amazing, creative, and generous friends and supporters, the two foundations together have raised more than $300 million over the past two decades to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS. The U.S. foundation focuses its efforts on programs in the United States, the Americas, and the Caribbean, while the U.K. foundation funds HIV-related work in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Join us in speaking out, taking action, and contributing to our efforts to achieve a world without AIDS. For more information, please visit www.ejaf.org.
About Hope and Help Center of Central Florida:
Since 1988, the Hope and Help Center has proudly provided comprehensive and compassionate support in Central Florida for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. As the premier HIV/AIDS service organization in the region, Hope and Help Center offers a full range of care services, as well as education and prevention initiatives that save lives, refute the stigma, and offer hope to all those touched by this disease. Throughout the years Hope and Help Center has grown with eight locations throughout Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola Counties.
Mylan is a global pharmaceutical company committed to setting new standards in health care. Working together around the world to provide 7 billion people access to high quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service excellence a habit; do what’s right, not what’s easy; and impact the future through passionate global leadership. We offer a growing portfolio of approximately 1,100 generic pharmaceuticals and several brand medications. In addition, we offer a wide range of antiretroviral therapies, upon which approximately 40% of HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries depend. We also operate one of the largest active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers and currently market products in approximately 140 countries and territories. Our workforce of more than 20,000 people is dedicated to improving the customer experience and increasing pharmaceutical access to consumers around the world. But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself. See inside. mylan.com
About Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT):
Mylan 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. Mylan WTT is a showcase for many of tennis’ top players, with virtually every major champion of the Open era playing WTT through the years. The Mylan WTT Recreational League also operates coed team leagues and events. For more information, visit www.WTT.com.
About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 230-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including Champion Stadium, the HP Field House, the Jostens Center, the Hess Sports Fields, a track & field facility, a tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex. It is also home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group that develops ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom, as well as development of its new 3-D television channel. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, which can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD and 3-D Production Center with direct links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.disneysportsnews.com for press releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports, Instagram and on Facebook.