Current world number two and fresh off capturing his second Wimbledon title, Novak Djokovic will join Hall of Famer John McEnroe, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, actor Edward Norton and other tennis stars, legends and celebrities, on Thursday, Aug. 21, for a gala evening of tennis to benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) at Sportime Stadium on Randall's Island.
In the main event of the evening, Djokovic will compete against another top ATP professional to be announced. The evening will also include pro celebrity doubles action, featuring Djokovic, McEnroe and their guests, promising junior players from the John McEnroe Tennis Academy including 2014 Boys Junior Wimbledon winner Noah Rubin, an auction and great hospitality, with all net proceeds to support the efforts of Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
JMTP provides scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area, as well as introducing the sport to hundreds of new junior players each year in the neighborhoods surrounding Academy locations. JMTP benefit nights in previous years have featured the likes of Bjorn Borg (2011), Andre Agassi (2012) and Jim Courier (2013). JMTP and Sportime Clubs, home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, have already provided more than $1.5 million in scholarships and no-cost programming to young players in New York City and its communities. Sportime Randall’s Island has been the flagship location of JMTA since 2010.
“This is an important night for a cause that has been close to my heart for a long time,” said McEnroe. “I have so much respect for Novak as a person and as a player, which makes me even more excited that he will be the first current top-ranked player to participate in a Johnny Mac Tennis Project benefit match. Fans can expect a night of fun and competition in a great atmosphere in New York, with the likes of Henrik Lundqvist and Edward Norton generously agreeing to be part of the festivities, and with more surprise guests to be announced between now and the event.”
Djokovic has three titles to date in 2014, all in top-level Masters 1000 events in Rome, Miami and Indian Wells. He first reached the number one ranking in April 2011 and has been the number one or two ranked male player in the world ever since. His Grand Slam singles championships include the Australian Open (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013), Wimbledon (2011 and 2014) and U.S. Open (2011).
Lundqvist is one of the National Hockey League's top goaltenders, winning the Vezina Trophy as top NHL goalie in the 2011-2012 season, and finishing runner-up for the Vezina in 2012-2013. He has 309 career regular-season victories in his nine-year NHL career, plus 43 postseason victories, and just finished up a run in June where he led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance 20 years.
The prolific Norton is known for his roles in the films Fight Club, American History X, The Incredible Hulk, The Illusionist and many others. He is a two-time Academy Award nominee and a Golden Globes winner. He will star alongside Emma Stone in this fall's Birdman.
Rubin became the first American in seven years to win the Wimbledon Junior Boy’s title after his victory over fellow American Stefan Kozlov, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. He has been a student at Sportime since the age of seven and at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy since 2010.
“I am proud to see two American boys in the finals of Wimbledon Juniors for the first time since my first visit to Wimbledon in 1977,” said McEnroe. “I am prouder to see Noah take the title. He has worked very hard on and off the court, and it is exciting to see him come through in such a big way on the big stage.”
Noah’s coach since 2003, Lawrence Kleger, director of tennis for both Sportime and the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, was unable to accompany Noah to Wimbledon as he recovered from hip replacement surgery.
“Noah did a phenomenal job of maintaining his focus and keeping his compete level high from the first match in qualies to the finals against Stefan [Kozlov],” said Kleger. “This is what is required to win a Slam, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Tickets to the event start at $75. To purchase tickets, and for more information about special VIP packages, corporate packages or to become a sponsor, click here, call (888) 988-6921 or e-mail JMTP2014@sportimeny.com.