Evert Classic returns to Boca Raton Published Thursday, October 19, 2006
By Mario Sarmento
After 17 years, the Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic is still going strong.
The Classic returns to Boca Raton Nov. 4-5 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.
The event has raised more than $14 million in its history, teaming together athletes and celebrities to benefit state and local charities.
According to Chris Evert Charities Director Tami Starr, this has been Evert’s way of giving back after an illustrious career that saw her win 18 Grand Slam titles in 17 years as a professional.
“When Chris retired from tennis in 1989, she wanted to give back because she felt so fortunate,” Starr said. “She thinks everyone should give back.”
Over the years, celebrities and athletes like Chevy Chase and Jimmy Connors have appeared at the event.
“It’s been a great response,” Starr said. “People are glad she’s giving back.”
This year, two longtime Evert favorites whom she has spent years pursuing have finally found enough time in their busy schedules to make appearances – Anna Kournikova and Kenny Loggins. Loggins will perform at the 17th Annual Gala Dinner & Auction on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
“She’s (Evert) a big fan of his, and he’s a big fan of hers,” Starr said.
Evert was finally able to attract Kournikova when the two made an appearance at Jim Courier’s charity classic in Tampa earlier this year.
“Someone like Anna realizes someone like Chris made the field for her,” Starr said. “Billie Jean King always said that when Chris came on the scene, she made women’s tennis bigger by bringing in more fans.”
Other celebrities who are scheduled to attend include Jon Lovitz, Alan Thicke, Governor Jeb Bush, Greg Norman, and former NHL star Valeri Bure and his wife Candace Cameron.
The list of names continually changes because, as Starr said, “Actors and actresses aren’t sure yet because they’re trying to get time off from their bosses.”
New York Yankees manager Joe Torre confirmed earlier this week that he would attend, and Lindsey Davenport was the latest professional tennis player to throw her name into the ring.
The Classic itself consists of athletes and celebrities pairing off together for one-set matches from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. during the two-day event.
Starr said organizers are trying to arrange a Sunday featured match that would be more competitive than the others, featuring Evert, Connors, Courier and pairing Kournikova with former President George Bush.
Event pairings will be made Friday when organizers are sure of who will attend. Tickets for the tennis and the gala dinner are available through the Chris Evert Charities at 394-2400, or www.Chrisevert.org
. General admission tickets are $20 per day. Series tickets are $70 per day and individual day club seats are $40 each day. Box ticket packages range from $175-$900, with individual box seats for $900. Children ages 10 and under are free if accompanied by a paid adult in the general admission section. Gala tickets are $750 each.
Local charities that will benefit from the proceeds include the community drug abuse foundation in Delray Beach and the Turtle Nest Village, which provides children who have not been adopted by their 18th birthday with housing and life skills to help them become productive members of society.