Los Angeles / Stuttgart. She had envisioned the event for a quite a while, and it all finally came together this weekend: During the Maria Sharapova and Friends 2015 LA event, Maria Sharapova took center court at her own Porsche-supported tennis tournament in the L.A. suburb of Westwood on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles.
The three-time winner of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (2012, 2013 and 2014) and Porsche Brand Ambassador selected Los Angeles for a very good reason. The Southern California city at present does not host either a main women’s or men’s tennis tournament. “I’ve been coming here to practice for so many years and felt part of the community here. I wanted to give the tennis fans in Los Angeles something back and support professional tennis in the US,” said Sharapova.
In addition to Madison Keys, who is ranked No. 18 in the world, Laura Robson, Shelby Rogers and Sloane Stephens are also participating in the event, as are ATP Tour players Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori. On December 12 and 13, former top players Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick will be taking up their rackets once again on Center Court of the UCLA Tennis Center.
“Maria Sharapova and Friends” opened with mixed doubles between Mardy Fish/Madison Keys and Laura Robson/Andy Roddick, with the all-American pairing winning 6-4. In the following match, the two American “oldies” hardly showed any signs that they had hung up their rackets. In almost two hours, Mardy Fish finally edged Andy Roddick 7-6, 4-6, 12-10 in a very competitive match.
On this first day, however, the high point for the fans was the match between hostess Maria Sharapova and American tennis hopeful Madison Keys, who came close to putting a damper on the hostess’ on-court premiere. In the end, though, Sharapova prevailed 6-7, 6-1, 11-9 in a thrilling and entertaining match-up. The day drew to a close with a celebrity doubles match as Maria Sharapova teamed up with comedy star Chelsea Handler, playing Canadian actor Will Arnett and Andy Roddick — with the women emerging victorious.
The singles match of Shelby Rogers and Sloane Stephens begins the Sunday festivities at 1:00 p.m., local time, followed by the match between Kei Nishikori and Jack Sock around 2:00 pm. Next, the mixed doubles between Maria Sharapova/Kei Nishikori and Laura Robson/Jack Sock takes center court, followed by Maria Sharapova closing the proceedings on Center Court along with Chelsea Handler in the celebrity match against Jack Sock and another to-be-named star.
The event not only aims to entertain the attendees, but also serves to prepare the tennis pros for the up-coming season, which starts January 2016 in Australia. Portions of the proceeds as set aside for donations to Maria Sharapova’s foundation supporting underprivileged children around the world.
Source: Kind courtesy of Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche Aktiengesellschaft