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MARIA SHARAPOVA RETURNS TO ACTION FOR WTT SMASH HITS DEBUT ON OCTOBER 10 AT CAESARS PALACE

New York, N.Y. (October 5, 2016) --- Maria Sharapova returns to the court for the first time in nearly nine months when she makes her World TeamTennis Smash Hits debut on Monday, October 10, at 6:30 p.m. Pacific at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Sharapova, the popular global icon who burst onto the pro tennis scene at the age of 14, will be playing in the charity event for the first time in its 24-year history. WTT Smash Hits, which is co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, raises funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Sharapova joins an all-star field that includes John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Mardy Fish and Mark Philippoussis. Another new addition to the field is former world No. 1 doubles standout Liezel Huber who has won 53 WTA Tour doubles titles.

"I am really excited to get back on the court for a great cause,” said Sharapova. “I have been wanting to play this event for Billie and Elton for a long time so I am looking forward to a great night of tennis."

Tickets for WTT Smash Hits are available through WTTSmashHits.com or axs.com, or by calling The Colosseum at Caesars Palace box office at (866) 320-9763 or AXS at (888) 929-7849. All seating will be reserved and have chairbacks. VIP seats, which include admission to the pre-match VIP Reception and Live Auction, are $545. For the tennis action only, Premium Reserved chairback seats are $136.25 and Reserved chairback seats are $59.95. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, call (212) 586-3444 x. 121. Ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax as assessed by the state of Nevada.

Sharapova is one of only six women in the Open era to win a career Grand Slam, taking home the title at the 2008 Australian Open, 2004 Wimbledon, 2006 US Open and twice at the French Open in 2012 and 2014.  She also captured the silver medal in singles at the 2012 London Olympics. The former world No. 1 has won 35 singles titles and three doubles titles on the WTA Tour. She also launched Sugarpova, a successful candy line, in 2012.

Since 1993, WTT Smash Hits has raised more than $14 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local AIDS charities. Caesars Palace, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is also home to Elton John’s hit show, “The Million Dollar Piano.”

The evening begins with a pre-match VIP Reception and Auction at 5:00 p.m. at Caesars Palace with the match start set for 6:30 p.m. on a specially-constructed tennis court in the valet parking lot adjacent to Caesars Palace Drive. A limited number of special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the VIP Reception and Auction, are available for $545. John, King and all players will participate in the pre-match live auction, which will include an Elton John signed piano bench and King’s Wimbledon tickets, among other items. 

Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play a WTT match featuring singles and doubles action. The music legend is expected to participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Last year, Team Elton took a 12-11 edge in the overall series with a 17-11 win over Team Billie Jean.

Official event sponsors include host sponsor Caesars Palace and presenting sponsor Citi. Additional sponsors and partners include AmerisourceBergen, Cashman Photo, Core Academy, DecoTurf, Donnelley Financial Solutions, ??Fanatics, GEICO, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, KXNT News/Talk Radio & CBS Sports Radio - Las Vegas, Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, NBC & The CW - Las Vegas,? ?WG Communications Group, Wilson and XS Tennis - Chicago. Ryan Wolfington and USTA Nevada are promotional partners of WTT Smash Hits.

Sponsorship packages are also available by contacting Natalee Jarrett at njarrett@wtt.com or (212) 586-3444 x. 111.

For more information on WTT Smash Hits, visit WTTSmashHits.com.

For more information on the Elton John AIDS Foundation, visit EJAF.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS: 
Rosie Crews, Mylan WTT (rcrews@wtt.com), PH: (817) 684-0366
Talia Rothman, Caesars Entertainment (trothman@caesars.com), PH: (702) 785-6540

MEDIA CREDENTIALS: If you have not already applied for working media credentials, please complete this form ASAP - WTT.com/SmashMedia.


2016 WTT Smash Hits – Organizations & Charities

About Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)
At the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), we believe AIDS can be beaten.  We act on that belief by raising funds for evidence-based programs and policies and also by speaking out with honesty and compassion about the realities of people’s lives.  Sir Elton John created EJAF almost 25 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 generous friends and supporters, the two foundations together have raised more than $350 million over the past quarter century 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.

Caesars Palace
World-renowned Las Vegas resort and casino and voted “Best Strip Hotel” in 2015 by the readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Caesars Palace features 3,980 hotel guest rooms and suites, including the all-new Julius Tower, the 181-room Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace and Forbes Star Award-winning The Laurel Collection by Caesars Palace. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, the 85-acre resort offers 25 diverse dining options including the award-winning Bacchanal Buffet, as well as celebrity chef-branded restaurants by Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Guy Savoy, Brian Malarkey’s Searsucker Las Vegas and MR CHOW. The resort also features nearly 130,000 square feet of casino space, a five-acre Garden of the Gods pool oasis, the luxurious Qua Baths & Spa, COLOR Salon by celebrity hairstylist Michael Boychuck, five wedding chapels and gardens, and the new 75,000-square-foot OMNIA Nightclub with the top DJs such as Calvin Harris, Martin Garrix and Steve Angello. The 4,300-seat Colosseum, Billboard Magazine’s Venue of the Decade, spotlights world-class entertainers including Celine Dion, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Reba, Brooks & Dunn, Mariah Carey and Jerry Seinfeld. The Forum Shops at Caesars showcases more than 160 boutiques and restaurants. For more information, please visit caesarspalace.com or the Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas media room. Find Caesars Palace on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram.

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