Ever since I moved to the United State as a young girl, I’ve had a love affair with Southern California. I adore the laid-back atmosphere, the bustling city next to the beach, and the vibe bursting with creativity. But for me, one thing has always been missing—an event built around my passion and chosen career of professional tennis.
That something won’t be missing for much longer. This December, for the first time ever, I will host MARIA SHARAPOVA & FRIENDS, PRESENTED BY PORSCHE, a special tennis exhibition that will take place in Los Angeles. The talent we are bringing on board for this special event is unparalleled, including: World No. 5 Kei Nishikori, American rising star Madison Keys, Britain’s Junior Wimbledon Champion Laura Robson, American pro Jack Sock and former World No.1 Michael Chang. Though fun and surprises are in store, this highly competitive and professional tournament is scheduled just two weeks before some of these exceptional athletes (myself, included) head to the 2016 Australian Open.
And, as if that weren’t enough, supermodel Karlie Kloss and entertainer Chelsea Handler have signed on to play and amuse as well. It doesn’t stop there, either: we will be announcing even more tennis and entertainment talent in the coming weeks.
The event will take place at UCLA, and we will showcase men’s and women’s singles, and mixed doubles matches during the days of Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th. There will also be an extra special Comedy Night on December 12th to help round out the year with a smile.
I’m planning an exceptional experience for Los Angelenos and visitors, alike. The first, intending to be this annual tennis event. This showcase is so close to my heart, and is an unbelievable opportunity to bring together the athletes and entertainers who inspire me, my long-time brand partner Porsche, which has been supportive of this event from Day One, and a cause that has truly affected my life. A percentage of ticket sales for MARIA SHARAPOVA & FRIENDS, PRESENTED BY PORSCHE will be donated to my own Maria Sharapova Foundation, which provides financial aid and scholarships for women and families still dealing with the after-effects of the Chernobyl disaster.
TAG Heuer will serve as the official timekeeper of my event, and will sponsor a “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” skills competition between players, celebs, media and lucky fans from the crowd. And my brand partner, Nike, will be our event’s official clothing sponsor. If you won’t be in L.A., fret not; our broadcaster, the Tennis Channel, has signed on to share the experience across the country. Tickets will go on sale on September 14th at Ticketmaster.com. I can’t wait to bring professional tennis back to L.A., and hope to see you there!