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Tennis Superstars to Compete at Rupp in Lexus Tennis Challenge

September 14, 2004 08:59 AM

Tennis superstars Venus Williams and Serena Williams, along with Anna Kournikova, will be competing in the Lexus Tennis Challenge benefiting the OWL Foundation and the Tubby Smith Foundation on Nov. 21, 2004 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.

The OWL Foundation, which was started by Oracene Price, mother of Venus and Serena Williams, funds programs to address the learning needs of academically at-risk youth.

“We are thrilled to be coming to Kentucky to work with the Tubby Smith Foundation,” Venus Williams said. “We understand that Coach Smith’s Foundation supports the same goals as the OWL Foundation.”

“I have been a tremendous fan of the Williams sisters since they burst onto the tennis scene, so this is a terrific opportunity to be involved with their charity here in the Lexington community,” Smith said. “It was such a great crowd and atmosphere last year when Andy Roddick played at Rupp and I know this event will be even more exciting.”

The event format will feature Venus Williams against Kournikova in singles, followed by a doubles match with Serena Williams and an additional WTA Tour player, to be named later.

In addition to the tennis competition, there will be a youth tennis clinic at the Lexington Tennis Club on Nov. 20, plus the Night OWL Party at the Hyatt Regency Lexington. The Night OWL Party includes a reception, dinner, auction and special performance by an R & B star.

"This is one of our family's favorite weekends," Serena Williams said. “It is great to be able to play tennis and raise money for educational programs, which is a priority for us."

Since its inception in 2000, the OWL Foundation has held tennis challenges in Delray Beach, FL, in 2001 and 2002 and Naples, FL in 2003, raising funds for educational programs in each community. This year, the OWL Foundation has selected the Tubby Smith Foundation as the local beneficiary.

Lexus is the title sponsor of the OWL Foundation’s Tennis Challenge, which will be aired on a delayed broadcast on Insight cable systems throughout Kentucky.

"Lexus is excited to help bring world-class tennis back to Kentucky and raise funds for two great causes at the same time," said Dan Defler, general manager of the Lexus Store of Lexington.

Venus and Serena have both held the world No. 1 ranking and have won a combined nine Grand Slam titles. The 23-year-old Kournikova is credited with paving the way for top Russian female athletes to impact the international tennis stage. Like the Williams sisters, she too has made the jump from tennis star to worldwide celebrity status.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. and are priced from $20 to $75 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, over the phone at 859-281-6644 or 859-233-3535 or at the Rupp Arena box office, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For courtside boxes or to inquire about invitations to the Night OWL Party, call (859) 335-8361 x 111.

This is the second consecutive season that Lexus has sponsored a world-class tennis event. Last year, Roddick, James Blake and Bob and Mike Bryan drew more than 4,000 spectators.




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