Tennis Legends & Celebrities gather in NYC for The Legends Ball to benefit ITHF
While US Open action heated up on court for finals weekend, the tennis industry went glam off the court at the star-studded Legends Ball, the premier social event of the US Open, which serves as a fundraiser for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. More than 20 Hall of Famers, industry executives and VIPs, and celebrity tennis fans were in attendance at the event, which honored the Hall of Fame Class of 2010 as well as special award recipients, Martina Navratilova and Mercedes-Benz on Friday, September 10 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.
The night featured a who’s who of the tennis industry, with more than 20 Tennis Hall of Famers in attendance including Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez, Natasha Zvereva, Mark Woodforde, Stan Smith, Ken Rosewall, Russ Adams, Butch Buchholz, Maria Bueno, Owen Davidson, Donald Dell, Jan Kodes, Brad Parks, Nancy Richey, Vic Seixas, Fred Stolle and Tony Trabert. Honorary Co-Chairs attending included Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour; Jean Gachassin, President, French Tennis Federation; Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, United States Tennis Association; Tim Phillips, Chairman, All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club; and Phillip H. Scanlan AM, Consul General of Australia, New York. Former tennis star Vijay Amritraj emceed the evening and LPGA champion Annika Sorenstam and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe presented awards.
The special night of celebration honored a host of tennis luminaries including Martina Navratilova, who received the Eugene L. Scott Award and the Hall of Fame Class of 2010 – which features the extraordinary doubles teams of Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva and Todd Woodbridge & Mark Woodforde; mixed doubles champion Owen Davidson; Derek Hardwick, an influential tennis administrator; and Brad Parks, the first ever wheelchair tennis inductee, who is also one of the pioneering founders of the wheelchair game. Mercedes-Benz was presented with the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award.
Upon reciept of the Scott award, Navratilova commented, "I am honored to receive this award in the memory of Gene, who spoke so honestly about the game. Tennis has always been there for me, and I will continue speaking out about the game that I love." She continued,"I am so thankful for the life that tennis gave me. Two things have always been present in my life- tennis and a positive attitude. Remember that attitude is a choice, so always choose to have a good attitude."
Exclusive Auction & Proceeds
Guests had the opportunity to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique items in a silent and live auction. More than 65 unique items were on the block ranging from exclusive access at all four Grand Slams in 2011 to luxury Caribbean vacations, as well as unique opportunities such as hit sessions with tennis greats, celebrity meet and greets, tickets to major sporting events, autographed sports memorabilia and more.
An exclusive Australian Open tennis & travel package drew $17,000 for a luxury package that included tickets to President’s Lounge for men's and women's finals, two round-trip,business class tickes on Qantas, plus a hit session with Pat Rafter. In addition, guests contributed to a fund that will provide for free admission for kids 16 and under to the Hall of Fame for the year ahead.
All proceeds will benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in it is mission to preserve the history of tennis, to honor the game’s greatest legends and to provide a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide.