Sampras, Agassi Feud at Hit for Haiti

Over on Fanhouse, Greg Couch reports that Tennis “tried to show that it had a heart Friday night, that it’s not all about self-absorbed, entitled athletes, as its image often says.” But while the sold out crowd of 16,000 for the Hit for Haiti event helped raised more than $1M, the charity event was marred by two of its biggest stars.

Couch points out “a quarter of a million people dead in Haiti, and Sampras and Agassi took a charity event to raise money for earthquake victims and turned it into a night about themselves and their stupid bickering over Agassi calling Sampras a bad tipper.”

Sampras and Agassi “humiliated themselves, humiliated tennis.” Couch captures the exchange on Fanhouse.com.

Friendly Wagers: Oxfam Could Reap Rewards

Oxfam International, an NGO from three continents working worldwide to fight poverty and injustice, has some incentive to watch Wimbledon this year … and cheer for Roger Federer. Furthermore, the organization wins if Andy Roddick can win 10 grand slam singles titles before 2020.

Oxfam was left with the outstanding wagers placed by Nicholas Newlife, who died in February and left his estate – including the outstanding sports wagers – to the humanitarian organization. In addition to the Federer and Roddick wagers, there were other undisclosed by the UK’s Mirror. But the Mirror’s Euan Stretch noted that “if they all win, Oxfam said the cash could provide 350,000 people with safe water.”

CNBC’s Darren Rovell Chats With Andre Agassi About Athletes for Hope

Athletes for Hope

CNBC.com’s Darren Rovell caught up with Andre Agassi, and noted that “for years now, Agassi – along with Lance Armstrong – has consistently been the best at ‘getting it’ when it comes to his charity.”

Agassi: “I feel like it’s a daily effort to get it right and to make sure what I do in the next 20 years trumps the last 20 years. I keep pushing for the things I believe in. I used tennis as a vehicle and I got attracted to education because I saw how it could change the lives of children.”

Agassi, who helped start Athletes for Hope, told Rovell: “If you want a charity to work, it has to be a full-time commitment and then some. That’s why Athletes For Hope is big because it’s not only for people who don’t have the wherewithal to build their own foundation but will also serve as a great way for athletes to learn the process and what they should value. They are now surrounded by an army of us” (Darren Rovell, CNBC.com, 1/15). Read the entire article at CNBC.com

Billie Jean King Named Global Mentor in UNESCO-WTA Tour Partnership

UNESCO

Billie Jean King has been named as “Global Mentor for Gender Equality” in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour partnership to further gender quality and promote women’s leadership in all spheres of society. The partnership is also funding of Women’s Sports Foundation’s newly-created Billie Jean King Leadership Internship program.

King: “This partnership is a strong step in an effort to improve gender equity issues on many levels and I am honored to be part of this team. There is so much work still to be done when it comes to breaking down barriers to opportunity for women and girls throughout the world, and one of the most effective things we can do is combine our resources, energies and expertise.”

Since the program’s launch in November 2006, a substantial amount of funds been raised or pledged; a series of programs have been launched and funded; a global TV and print advertising campaign has been developed; Sony Ericsson tournaments in certain markets such as Linz, Austria and Portoroz, Slovenia have initiated advocacy, awareness and funding raising activities on behalf of the Partnership; and global “Promoter of Gender Equality” Venus Williams has been joined by Tour stars Tatiana Golovin Zheng Jie.

The program is designed to create real opportunities for women and girls to assume leadership roles, as well as to raise awareness and promote the goal of gender equality. Programs previously announced and now being implemented include:

  • In Liberia, a project that will create a women-only night school program for 1000 girls, and train female teachers to staff the program, in an effort to further equal access to quality primary and secondary education for disadvantaged women in post-conflict Liberia.
  • In Cameroon, a project that will work to create a group of successful female politicians, business women and athletes who will organize various events and activities in support of women’s leadership and gender equality.
  • In China, a project that will aim to raise the percentage of rural women involved in local affairs and promote a more balanced decision making process.
  • In the Dominican Republic, a program that will advocate for women’s social and political leadership through awareness raising activities and capacity building and training programs. One of these programs will train 80 young women between the ages of 18-28 in participative leadership skills to encourage them to rise to top positions in civil society and political organizations.
  • In Jordan, a legal rights awareness program, consisting of 24 legal training workshops throughout the country, will be designed to empower women to know their rights.

Key elements of the program include:

  • A Sony Ericsson WTA Tour/UNESCO Fund for women and leadership,
  • A “Promoter of Gender Equality” player program, which involves players as role models at both a global and national level in advocacy and awareness raising activities as well as direct involvement in specific gender equality and women’s leadership programs throughout the world,
  • Mentoring, scholarship and fellowship programs designed to support women’s individual leadership and provide them with the opportunities to succeed in any and all walks of life,
  • Advertising to raise awareness of and promote the internationally recognized goal of gender equality, and
  • Usage of UNESCO and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, social events and conferences as advocacy, awareness and fundraising platforms.

The program also represents the first time that UNESCO, the only Organization of the United Nations system with a mandate for education, the sciences, culture and communication and information which are critical for laying the grounds for gender equality, is partnering with a professional sports league for this objective embraced by all world leaders (Women’s Sports Foundation).

Serena Williams Helps Establish The Serena Williams Secondary School in Kenya

Build African Schools

Serena Williams will be in Kenya tomorrow to help open The Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni. Williams helped build the school through a partnership between the Build African Schools initiative and Hewlett Packard.

Build African Schools Founder Patrick O’Sullivan said that the organizatino’s objective is “to build primary and secondary schools in marginalized areas to give chance to students to access secondary school education in a bid to empower them.”

Dickson Mutaiti, the Director of Projects for Build African Schools, added, “We are indeed honored to have Ms Williams visit Kenya at this momentous time in American history when we have a new President elect who has roots in Kenya. During her visit, Ms Williams will officially open a secondary school put up in her name, to give chance to needy primary school students who want to pursue secondary school education” (Claire Wanja, KBC,, 11/10).

Read the entire article from KBC

Photo credit: Build African Schools

Hewitt and Wife Pushing Cure Our Kids Auction in Australia

Hewitts’ Cure Our Kids Auction PSA (0:30)

Tennis player Lleyton Hewitt is in Australia promoting his charity auction to raise funds for cancer charity Cure Our Kids. Hewitt said of the organization: “It really hits home now, having a young family at the moment, with (daughter) Mia and another one on the way. I was at a hospital in Sydney and to see how tough it is for the kids and their families – I’m hopeful that we can make a lot of money (for Cure Our Kids) to look after the families and sick children.”

Hewitt: “There are more than 100 items going (on auction) through November and also once-in-a-lifetime-experiences on offer. There’s the chance to meet and greet the Wiggles and tickets to the 2009 Wimbledon with flights included. The auction has merchandise money can’t buy” (Perth Now, 10/31).

Read the entire article from Perth Now

Lleyton Hewitt and Wife Bec Gearing Up for Cure Our Kids Charity Auction

Cure Our Kids

In Australia, Kim Wilson caught up with tennis star Lleyton Hewitt about his “comeback, the imminent arrival of his second child and the celebrity fundraising auction he and Bec have helped put together to raise money for children with cancer.”

Hewitt will be in Melbourne thnis week “to promote the Cure Our Kids auction on website www.eSwap.com.au.”

Items being auctioned from today include “the tennis racquet used by world No.1 Rafael Nadal when he beat Roger Federer in this year’s Wimbledon final, Ana Ivanovic’s pink tennis dress from her French Open win, as well as items from celebrities including Russell Crowe, Andre Agassi, Gwen Stefani, Toni Collette and Hugh Jackman.”

Hewitt said that “it was tricky asking fellow sporting greats, dignitaries and celebrities for items for the auction.” Hewitt: “It’s been hard bringing it all together – but it’s very satisfying” (Australia Herald Sun, 10/26).

What Happens in Vegas: Andre Agassi’s 13th Grand Slam of Children Event a Success

KLAS-CBS Report from Agassi Event (2:20)

Las Vegas’ KLAS-CBS reported from Andre Agassi’s 13th Annual Grand Slam for Children event in Las Vegas on Saturday night, and reporter Janet O. noted that The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation “is one of the most successful in Las Vegas.”

Emeril Lagasse, a board member, said, “These are 70% of kids who come from one parent homes kids who have no hope in their lives. If anyone is going to figure out how to make better for the children of Las Vegas it’s going to be Andre Agassi.”

Supporter Sheryl Crow added, “Right now with the war, economy suffering, cancer money has been cut to an all time low, events like this the way Andre does it pulls from the worldwide community really admirable.”

O also noted that the “class of 09 will be the first to graduate in June.” Agassi: “It’s a miracle you go there and walk down the halls you can’t even believe what it is your feeling and seeing” (KLAS-CBS, 10/11).

Andre Agassi’s 13th Grand Slam for Children Event Tonight in Las Vegas

Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation

The 13th annual Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children benefit concert in Las Vegas is slated for tonight. The concert will raise funds for the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which provides recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk boys and girls.

This year’s event will be headlined by Rod Stewart, Sheryl Crow, the Killers and comedian David Spade. Tonight’s event was preceded by an invitation-only concert tonight last night featuring James Taylor and Five For Fighting’s John Ondrasik.

Agassi: “I’m thrilled to have so many amazing performers donate their talents to help us help children. We look forward to celebrating with our partners what we’ve accomplished in Las Vegas with the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy and our future efforts to transform public education for underserved children nationwide.”

Since its inception in 1995, the Grand Slam for Children has raised more than $70 million for charity (Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation).

Andy Roddick Hosting Poker Event to Raise Funds for His Planned Training Center

The Andy Roddick Foundation announced this week that it will host its First Annual Charity Texas Hold’Em Poker Tournament on November 1 in Marble Falls, Texas. The event will raise funds to build the ARF International Tennis Center. The venue, wich is planned to sport a retractable shading system as well as the greenest building practices, will serve as the hub training facility for the Andy Roddick Foundation Youth Tennis Programs from around the world.

The foundation provides at risk youth the opportunity to learn the game of tennis and to compete on local, state and national levels. The programs will combine weekly tennis instruction, mentoring for college, and nutritional counseling to help eliminate the crisis of diabetes and obesity among the youth of America (Andy Roddick Foundation).

Pam Shriver’s Baltimore Charity Event Going Into Its 23rd Year

With Serena Williams set to play Pam Shriver’s annual charity PNC Tennis Classic in Baltimore on November 21, the Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus writes that “the event, which has raised more than $4 million for charity, is going into its 23rd year and remains important to Shriver, who grew up in Baltimore.”

Shriver: “With all the changes in my life, not having my regular base in Baltimore, three kids 4 and under, it’s been one of the constants in my life over the past 23 years. It’s important to me from a position of being a stakeholder in this community. … It’s taken the right mix of charities, title sponsors.”

But Markus points out that “it has also taken a steady diet of big-name players.” The event has “attracted some of the biggest stars in the sport, including” Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Monica Seles and Andy Roddick (Baltimore Sun, 9/8).

Watch Designed for Andre Agassi Foundation

Longines Supporting Agassi Foundation (0:54)

Longines recently unveiled the Longines Andre Agassi Limited Edition GrandeVitesse watch at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas. The timepieces will support The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation.

The design of the 888 exclusive limited edition GrandeVitesse watch is classic and elegant with a sporty edge. The remarkable and unique design is featured in the dial. Within those features, Longines chose to highlight the gold in The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation’s logo (Longines).