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.