2003 Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic
Alese & Morton Pechter
Chris Evert brings out the stars once again. 2003 proved to be another great year for Chris Evert and the exciting Tennis Classic. On hand for this celebrity packed weekend were Former President George Bush, Chevy Chase, Matthew Perry, Jon Lovitz, Maeve Quinlan (former tennis pro and now actress), Helio Castroneves (2 time Indy 500 Race Car Winner), Gavin Rossdale (rock group Bush) and supermodel Frederique. What an exciting list. Add to that the tennis writing Hall of Famer Bud Collins, Lisa Raymond, Tommy Haas, Jennifer Capriati, Mary Joe Fernandez, Xavier Malisse, Vince Spadea, Wendy Turnbull, Luke and Murphy Jensen and you have a fun-filled few days of tennis ... all together for a great cause.
Over 10,000 fans appeared to cheer on their favorites during this 14th annual happening of the event. Some came to see the great tennis playing ... some just to see the handsome and beautiful celebs. ... and some to see the mishaps that make for the fun. Chevy Chase accidentally hit Pres. Bush while serving ... and then the next day, he got hit by a ball steaming across the net from Matthew Perry. We never realized that tennis could be a dangerous game.
Antics are part of the fun. Luke and Murphy Jensen can always be counted on to be the funniest competitors, mugging, quipping, hitting crazy shots, sending balls at each other’s backs. Luke went back to the "old days" ... taking out an old Wilson wood racquet and then serving while down on his knees. Bud Collins, the legendary announcer and writer showed his taste for unusual dress by appearing court side in orange sneakers and plaid pastel shorts while at the Black Tie formal he sported the usual formal top with purple pants. Matthew Perry is an exceptionally good tennis player ... he played competitive junior tennis ... but along with his great shots joined in with the hijinks of the others on the court. Chevy Chase did a ritual war dance, Jon Lovitz showed his powerful serve, Gavin Rossdale had been training with Murphy Jensen and Frederique looked great even after a long arduous plane trip.
Bud Collins also took to the microphone as the emcee for the Welcome Reception. At the matches Bud wanted to know why all the fans were wearing coats? He urged them to take them off as they should know they were now in Florida. Most spectators showed up at the Sunday matches bundled up as there were freezing temperatures the night before. Chris Evert wanted to know, if after knowing him for 20 years, could she call the President, George. When asked about Frederique’s last name, Chris responded saying that it seems that supermodels do not need last names.
Of course, the star celeb of the event is Former President George Bush. He not only played well ... winning the match he played with Chris as his partner, but was extremely warm and gracious to the fans. He insisted on photos with the ball kids, playfully bopped one on the head with his racquet and stopped to sign autographs ... making sure that one child retrieved a hat he had dropped over the railing by picking it up, signing it and tossing it back to him.
Chris is always excited when President Bush can be present. They are long time friends.
"It is always a great honor to have President Bush at our event," proclaimed Evert, " His commitment to helping us raise money and awareness over the years is so appreciated. He is one of the most intense competitors we’ve had at the event so the fans enjoy watching him play, " she said. "I love playing doubles with him and it never hurts to have one of the most powerful men of the 20th Century on my side of the net."
Not only is President Bush’s appearance important in helping to raise money for the Evert’s charitable endeavors, but he is also a pretty good tennis player. Before being sworn in as the 41st President of the United States, President Bush had an active sports career:
A graduate of Yale University, his athletic accomplishments include being the team captain of his baseball team in the College Baseball World Series. Today, President Bush is an avid fisherman and tennis player.
In addition to the 2 fantastic days of tennis, Chris hosted a special Kids Day prior to the event. Over a hundred 8-12 year old tennis novices came to the stadium to join with Chris as she supervised drills, jumping rope and obstacle courses. ... doing each along with the kids. Chris greeted each child and presented each with an oversized tennis ball, which she autographed. She also gave each a new Junior tennis racquet. Cameras clicked as the children posed for photos with this amazing lady who retired from professional tennis before they were even born.
Always a highlight of the weekend is the phenomenal Health Foundation of South Florida Gala Black Tie Dinner hosted by Chris Evert and husband, Andy Mill with co-chairpersons, Carole & Dick Siemens and H. Wayne & Marti Huizenga. The theme was ‘70's style with fabulous psychedelic colors and flowers. The music of the evening was delightful ... being led by the featured entertainers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. of Fifth Dimension.
The food was sumptuous and elegantly prepared and served. Glamour was present everywhere. The men in their impressive tuxedoes and the women beautifully coiffed, bejeweled and wearing the most exquisite gowns. Chris was radiant in a pink gown trimmed with tiny seed pearls.
The Silent Auction at the Black Tie always brings some special merriment. This year, a dance with Matthew Perry was on the auction block. Chevy Chase began the bidding with $3,000 at which time Perry made a counter bid of $5000 not to have to dance with Chevy! The bids ran higher and higher ... Chevy bidding ... Perry outbidding till Perry closed out the auction at $10,000, giving him the opportunity to select his own dance partner ... who was not going to be Chevy! Perry chose to dance a slow number from the ‘70's with his long time friend, Jennifer Capriati.
The Chris Evert/Bank of America Tennis Classic is held in association with the Chris Evert Children’s Hospital of Broward General. Chris Evert Charities partners with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, a public-private partnership administered with the State of Florida, to raise money for needy programs which otherwise would not be fully-funded by the State. The Fund matches monies raised through the Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic. Since its inception 14 years ago, this annual charity event has raised over 11 million dollars to fight drug abuse and assist neglected and abused children in Florida.
We can give you some advance word for the next event. Chris Evert, Andy Mill shall be there ... and you can be sure we will be also. We would not miss this one.
The dates are already set ...
The Pro-Am ... Friday, December 3, 2004
Tennis ... Saturday & Sunday ... December 4, 5, 2004
The Gala Black Tie ... Saturday evening, December 4, 2004
We suggest you make your plans early. Tickets and information can be obtained by calling....
561-394-2400 Ask for Susan.
And remember ... when there please say hello. We are the ones running around the place loaded with cameras.
See you in Delray Beach next December!