Team Billie Jean King defeated Team Elton John 22-16 in front of a capacity crowd at Royal Albert Hall in London to tie the overall Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by Walgreen and AmerisourceBergen series at 11-11. The international debut of the event was a roaring success, raising more than $1 million dollars (USD) (more than £641,000) for the Elton John AIDS Foundation for only the second time in the event’s 22-year history. The contest, co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, has now raised more the $13 million USD (£8.3 million) to support HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness programs since the first event in 1993.
The 2014 event was the first to be held outside of the U.S. Great Britain’s Tim Henman was the star of the night for Team Billie Jean, winning 10 of the 13 games he played. Henman partnered Jamie Murray to a convincing 5-0 victory in men’s doubles against John McEnroe and Andy Roddick and later closed out victory for his team with a 5-3 win in men’s singles over Roddick.
“Tim’s serve made the difference. He was serving like Andy Roddick tonight,” said King. Team Elton started off the evening with a victory in women’s doubles as Martina Hingis and Heather Watson edged Sabine Lisicki and Kim Clijsters 5-4. Team Billie Jean’s Henman and Jamie Murray were newcomers to the WTT format, but the two quickly caught on to upstage WTT veterans John McEnroe and Andy Roddick with an impressive 5-0 win in men’s doubles.
Murray clinched the set with a let ace against McEnroe. Lisicki extended the lead for Team Billie Jean, as she defeated Watson 5-3 in women’s singles. Trailing 14-8, Team Elton fought back in mixed doubles.
Former WTT teammates Hingis and McEnroe beat Clijsters and Murray 5-3 to give their team the momentum. Henman denied any chance of a comeback with his 5-3 men’s singles win against Roddick. Before King and John’s teams battled it out on court, they went head-to-head in a live auction contest, raising more than $247,000 USD (£159,000).
The top-selling items were two US Open ticket packages for more than $73,000 USD (£49,000). A Wimbledon package featuring a visit with John McEnroe and Elton John’s autographed piano bench were also auction favorites. Elton John addressed the capacity crowd when Mylan Chairman Robert J. Coury and CEO Heather Bresch handed the Elton John AIDS Foundation a check for £500,000.
“This is a wonderful evening. Without Mylan, we couldn’t possibly do this. They’ve make drugs for HIV positive people and we’re an HIV positive AIDS Foundation, so the two of us fit hand and glove very well and it’s a wonderful relationship. It would be wrong of me not to acknowledge the extent of the generosity Mylan has given us, which is immense,” said John.