Chevy Chase was a last-minute scratch, and former President George H.W. Bush was unable to attend due to a meeting with the president of Mexico.
But former professional tennis superstar and Boca Raton resident Chris Evert was still all smiles Thursday afternoon at a press conference at Saks Fifth Avenue in the Town Center at Boca Raton mall, where she unveiled the star-studded matches for her 13th Annual Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic this weekend.
Among the notable matches on Saturday are professional tennis star Monica Seles and Alan Thicke, former star of the sitcom “Growing Pains,” who will face Evert and Fran Drescher, star of the sitcom “The Nanny.”
Former tennis great Gabriela Sabitini will team with Oprah Winfrey crony Dr. Phil McGraw, who also now hosts his own talk show, in a match against Seles and Winfrey’s boyfriend, author Stedman Graham.
On Sunday, “Dr. Phil” will team with Boca Raton resident and up-and-coming tennis star Andy Roddick to face former New York Yankee Paul O’ Neill and Tommy Haas, currently the eighth-ranked tennis player in the world.
Others participating in the charity tennis event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center on West Atlantic Avenue include actor Jon Lovitz of “Saturday Night Live” fame, Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and actress Maeve Quinlan of the daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
The eight matches will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Evert said that although many can become star-struck by the event – which also includes a black-tie gala, live auction and performance by Rock n’ Roll legends The Four Tops Saturday night at the Boca Raton Resort & Club – it is important to stay focused on why the annual event is held.
“It has become an [elaborate] event and it now has an image, but we never want to lose site of what we are doing,” said Evert, pointing out that the event’s first year featured entertainment by Whitney Houston. “This is about having fun but at the same time raising money for a good cause.”
Teamed with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida – a nonprofit organization that focuses on family support programs and matches funds raised from the Evert event – the Chris Evert/Raymond James Tennis Classic raised $900,000 last year and more than $10.2 million over the past decade to fight drug abuse and assist neglected and abused children in South Florida.
“The money that we raise does make a difference,” said Evert, who earned $8 million in prize money during her years on the professional tennis tour. “We’ve seen women and children start to believe the world hasn’t given up on them. Everyone deserves a second chance.”
During her 20-year career, Evert won 157 tennis titles.
If you go
Tickets are still available for this weekend’s 13th Annual Chris Evert/ Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic at the Delray Beach Tennis Center’s box office, 201 W. Atlantic Ave. Prices are $30 for bleacher seats, $40 club seats and $80 single box seats. A Family Pak includes two adult tickets and two children under 12. Children will also get a giant tennis ball ideal for celebrity autographs and two McDonald’s Happy Meal coupons. Box seat packages range from $650 to $950.
The matches will take place Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Health Foundation of South Florida Gala Black Tie Gala featuring entertainment by The Four Tops begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Tickets are $750 each or $7,500 for a table of 10. Call (866) 836-6475 for that event.