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Roddick, King, John Headline Baton Rouge Event

June 16, 2009 10:23 AM
Georgia's Melanie Oudin has a laugh with Andy Roddick at last year's WTT Smash Hits.
Longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King are bringing their annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits charity night of tennis to Louisiana for the first time in the event's 17-year history. Tennis champion Andy Roddick and other top players will compete on December 8, 2009, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge.

Smash Hits has raised more than $9 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. This year's event, presented by the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation and hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, will benefit EJAF and other regional AIDS charities.

"The Pennington Family Foundation is deeply committed to assisting Baton Rouge non-profits working to curb this epidemic facing our community," said Paula Pennington de la Bretonne, Pennington Foundation Trustee. "This partnership will go a long way toward increasing our efforts to strengthen the awareness, education and support to programs focusing on people living with HIV."

Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play five sets of World TeamTennis (WTT). Also, John will also participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Additional participants and ticket details will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Roddick, a long-time supporter of Advanta WTT Smash Hits, has consistently been ranked among the top 10 players in the world since turning pro in 2000. Roddick has won 27 singles titles on the ATP Tour, including the Memphis tournament earlier this year. The former world No. 1 won the 2003 US Open and has reached the finals of Wimbledon twice (2004 and 2005). Roddick won the ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2004 and founded the Andy Roddick Foundation, which has raised more than $8.25 million for several charities.

Special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the Smash Hits VIP Reception and Auction, will also be available. For more information on the VIP Reception, contact Paige Sharber at 225-928-8346. For more information on Advanta WTT Smash Hits, visit www.WTT.com.

About Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established in the United States in 1992 (EJAF-US) and in the United Kingdom in 1993 (EJAF-UK) by founder and chairman Sir Elton John. Together, both entities have raised over $150 million to support HIV/AIDS prevention and service programs in 55 countries around the globe since inception.

Today, EJAF is one of the world's leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations supporting innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. EJAF-US's current grant-making priorities target HIV prevention programs in the Southern United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America; HIV prevention and care services for highly marginalized and vulnerable populations; and HIV/AIDS prevention education and the promotion of sexual health for adolescents. For more information, please visit www.ejaf.org.

About World TeamTennis (WTT)
World TeamTennis is a leader in the tennis industry with innovative programming on both the professional and recreational sides of the sport. Advanta World Team Tennis (WTT) is a professional tennis league, co-founded by Billie Jean King, featuring the biggest names in the world playing in an innovative co-ed team format. The season culminates with the Advanta WTT Finals at the end of July, where teams battle for the coveted King Trophy. In addition to the Pro League, the Advanta WTT Recreational League operates leagues and events throughout the U.S. that are played using the co-ed WTT format. For more information, visit www.WTT.com.

About Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation
During their lives, Claude B. "Doc" Pennington and his wife, Irene Wells Pennington were noted philanthropists and volunteers. In 1982, their private family foundation, the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, was established to share their success with the community that had been an important part of their lives. The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation provided philanthropic support through organizations who promote the overall well-being of families and communities. Much of the foundation's support is given to nonprofits and agencies that provide direct service to people in need, from disadvantaged youth to the medically underserved. The foundation's giving primarily focuses on the organizations and agencies within or near the Greater Baton Rouge area and surrounding parishes. This includes East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Ascension, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, and Iberville Parishes. For more information, visit www.penningtonfamilyfoundation.org.

About Baton Rouge Area Foundation
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation provides two essential functions for the capital region. One, the Foundation connects philanthropists with capable nonprofits to make sure the needs of our communities are met. Last year, the Foundation and its donors provided $18.8 million in charitable grants across the region - and the world. Two, the Foundation invests in and manages pivotal projects that improve the quality of life. Our Plan Baton Rouge initiative spearheaded the downtown revitalization plan and now is working to revive Old South Baton Rouge. Our Interstate 10/12 corridor project is linking the economies of 12 parishes in new ways to create jobs and wealth. We are working with health care and education reform. For more, visit www.BRAF.org.​
 

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