Mercedes-Benz Classic – An All Star Charity Event

A celebrity packed tennis lineup, featuring Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati, James Blake and Monica Seles, comes together in support of the First Serve Program and the St. Petersburg Tennis Foundation in the Mercedes-Benz Classic. The star-studded match, at the St. Pete Times Forum, Tuesday, March 23rd @ 7:00 PM, will feature the biggest names in American Tennis! This event is presented by Subway and in association with the St. Petersburg Times and Tennis Life Magazine.

One hundred percent of ticket proceeds from this event will benefit the First Serve Program and the St. Petersburg Tennis Foundation.

Jim Courier was ranked the #1 player in the world in 1992, a position he held for 58 weeks! With 23 career single titles and 4 Grand Slam Singles titles, Jim Courier has earned legendary tennis icon status.

Andy Roddick, 2003 US Open Champion, became the youngest American to finish number one in history of ATP Rankings and is one of the most celebrated athletes in the United States. He’s been featured in non-sports publications ranging from Rolling Stone to Vogue, voted Sexiest Athlete by People Magazine and recently hosted Saturday Night Live.

Jennifer Capriati, labeled the great hope of American women’s tennis, is one of the best tennis players in the world. She never fails to enrapture her fans with a fresh approach to the game she masters and holds closest to her heart. She was introduced to tennis at the early age of three. However, it wasn’t until March 5, 1990, at age 14, that she became a professional tennis player. The WTA Rankings of October 2001 announced Jennifer as the #1 ranked player in the world. She has currently won twelve professional titles and $4,300,000 in career prize money. She has 12 WTA Tour singles titles and 2 Grand Slam titles. Most recently, she has simply had an unbelievable year. She won two Grand Slam titles-the Australian and French Open-and reached the semifinals of Wimbledon and the US Open. In addition, she has won an abundance of prestigious awards, such as the 2001 Sports Illustrated for Women Sportswoman of the Year, 2001 March of Dimes Sportswoman of the Year, 2001 Trans World Sport Sportswoman of the Year and the 2001 Laureus Award.

Monica Seles made her professional debut at Boca Raton in 1988. Her 1992 Roland Garros Marathon final against Stefi Graf was voted by worldwide media as the greatest match in the 30-year history of the WTA Tour. In 1995, Tennis Magazine named Seles the Comeback player of the year, and she was voted most exciting player by fans in 1995 and 1997. She holds 53 WTA Tour singles titles and 6 WTA Tour Doubles Titles and 9 Grand Slam Titles. Outside of tennis, Monica has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle, Seventeen and Sports Illustrated.

James Blake, member of the 2003 Davis Cup Team, was born in Yonkers, NY. He attended college at Harvard University, and lives and trains locally at Saddlebrook. Blake currently ranks 27, with a year-end ranking of 28.

The First Serve Program is the USTA’s national initiative to introduce inner city youth to the life-long sport of tennis. Now in its second year, the program was launched in Florida and has 4 basic components: tennis instruction, computer classes, academics and mentoring. First Serve offers its programs free to participants.

The St. Petersburg Tennis Foundation is a living testament to the colorful history of world-class tennis. For three-quarters of a century, the center has been the site of major tournaments headlined by some of the sports most recognizable names. In the Golden Era, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Doris Hart and Shirley Frye all played on our courts. In the modern era, Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Anna Kournikova have all played here.

The center opened in 1928 with five clay courts and moved to its current Bartlett Park location seven years later. The center has since grown to 15 Hart-Tru clay courts- the only public clay courts in town. Today, the center is home to Rick Crockett’s First Serve program, which is designed to bring tennis to a new generation of future champions.

Mercedes-Benz is the proud title sponsor of this event and have 3 locations in the Bay area: Mercedes-Benz of Tampa (4636 N. Dale Mabry Hwy Tampa), Crown Eurocars (6001 34th St. N., St. Petersburg) and Lokey Motor Company (19820 U.S. Hwy. 19 North Clearwater).

Tickets for this event will go on sale Friday, December 12 – 12:00pm, at the St. Pete Times Forum Ticket Office and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers including Spec’s Music, FYE and the USF Sun Dome.

To order tickets by phone call Ticketmaster at 813.287.8844 or 727.898.2100. Group discounts are available by calling 813.301.6900. For more information please call 813.301.2500 or visit

Tickets are priced at $46.75, $26.75, $16.75. Limited courtside seats are available for $76.75. Prices do not include service charges.