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ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Tennis Stars Pledge Support to Hurricane Katrina Victims

Sport’s biggest names to auction autographed equipment, apparel starting September 11, and make individual donations and film public service announcements in support of American Red Cross hurricane relief efforts
Initiative is first component of extended commitment in conjunction with the USTA to raise funds and awareness, and follows Tours’ tsunami and Florida hurricane charitable programs

New York, New York, U.S.A.— The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and ATP announced today a multi-faceted joint charitable initiative to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina in the southeastern United States.

Players from both organizations, including some of the game’s biggest international stars, are pledging to donate autographed tennis equipment, apparel and memorabilia throughout the remainder of the US Open for an auction to benefit the American Red Cross hurricane relief efforts in the hardest-hit areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The auction will begin on September 11, the anniversary of the disaster that struck New York City four years ago.

Players who already have committed to supporting the relief efforts include Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport, Robby Ginepri, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Donald Young, Amelie Mauresmo, and Bob and Mike Bryan. In addition, many other players are making individual donations and filming public service announcements.

Also, the ATP and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour are committing to work with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to develop additional initiatives to raise funds and awareness for those affected by this devastating hurricane.

“The tragedy to so many human lives caused by Hurricane Katrina has touched all of us, and our hearts and prayers go out to the people affected by this enormous natural disaster,’’ Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott said. “The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, our players and tournaments are committed to doing our part to join the relief effort in hopes of bringing some measure of assistance to those who need it the most in that area.’’

ATP CEO Mark Miles said: “Our players and tournaments, who are reflective of the global community, have been deeply shocked and saddened by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. We feel compelled to help in any way we can and the immediate response we’re announcing today will play a small but important part in the recovery process.”

The ATP launched this year a three-year global partnership with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. The partnership already has raised approximately $250,000, much of it benefiting survivors of the South Asia tsunami. UNICEF presented Federer, representing all ATP players, with a plague last Saturday at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day as a token of their appreciation for all that pro tennis did in support of the UNICEF tsunami efforts. On the same day, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal added to the growing tally of ATP contributions by donating an additional $15,000.

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour’s efforts to aid Hurricane Katrina victims follows various initiatives by the organization the past year to benefit victims of the tsunami in Asia and India, and a series of hurricanes that hit Florida. Through its “Aces for Homes’’ program, the Tour and Whirlpool, the Tour’s premier European sponsor, pledged in June to raise a minimum of €100,000 to build new homes through Habitat for Humanityâ in the Chennai region of India through contributions by Whirlpool and the Tour donating €10 for every ace hit by a Tour player throughout the year.