By Blair Henley
As the tennis offseason approaches, some players are looking forward to a couple months of much needed rest, while others are throwing themselves into their own personal charity work. Here’s a roundup highlighting the current philanthropic efforts of your favorite tennis stars.
Andy Roddick was still a teenager when he decided to start his own foundation to benefit underprivileged children. Eleven years later, Roddick’s foundation is one of the most successful in the tennis industry. His 2012 gala came just weeks after his surprise retirement at the U.S. Open, and drew intense media coverage as a result. The event featuring John Legend, Matthew McConaughey, and Brooklyn Decker (Roddick’s model/actress wife) raised over $1 million. The Andy Roddick Foundation plans on using a portion of the funds to open a “sports and learning center” in East Austin.
On September 28th, Bob and Mike Bryan hosted the Cool Planet Tennis Benefit in Camarillo, Calif., with the goal of raising funds for the Bryan Brothers Foundation. No doubt the combination of music, food, tennis, and wine tasting put patrons in the mood to support the twins’ efforts to benefit children in their home state of California. The event came after a history-making summer for the brothers as they captured their first Olympic gold medals and claimed a record-breaking 12th Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open.
At just 20 years old, Ryan Harrison is learning from the examples set by great American tennis philanthropists like Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and James Blake. Harrison has organized his own tennis invitational and fundraising event in his home state of Louisiana benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. The event, scheduled for November 17th-18th, will feature tour pros Ryan Sweeting, Scott Lipsky, and the Bryan Brothers among others.
Chris Evert’s playing days may be over, but each year the former No. 1 uses her star power to draw some of the biggest celebrities to her South Florida charity event. In addition to a celebrity tennis exhibition, the two-day extravaganza features a pro-am, cocktail party, and gala. Since Evert began her efforts to benefit at-risk mothers and children in 1989, the Chris Evert Foundation has raised over $20 million dollars for organizations throughout Florida. This year’s event begins on Friday, October 26th!