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Elton and Billie Jean
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12th annual World TeamTennis Smash Hits

Tuesday 12
October 2004 @ 17:15
– GMT

Elton has been competing at the annual World TeamTennis Smash Hit charity tournament in California.

However, Elton and his tennis partner Andy Roddick lost their doubles match against Andre Agassi and Anna Kournikova at the event which benefits the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Elton has co-hosted the competition for the last 12 years with tennis legend Billie Jean King. This year’s event was held at the University of California at Irvine, around 45 miles south of Los Angeles. It was preceded by an auction of Elton memorabilia, including one of the star’s own piano benches, which he promised to autograph for the highest bidder.

Elton and Billei Jean KingThe event came the day after he hosted the 3rd Annual An Enduring Vision Charity Gala.

The Smash Hits events have raised around $50 million (£28 million) to date, which, according to Elton, translates into a lot more for the cause.

He said: “What’s happened over the 10, 11 years that we’ve been raising money is that we’ve sent $50 million out into the communities worldwide, where actually it’s actually amounted to $350 million, because by the time people have matched those funds once or twice or three times, it’s actually $350 million that we’ve generated.”

And Agassi, who has been involved with the fundraiser since 1995, said: “I find that playing this event is also a great opportunity to not just raise money for a cause that I believe in. “But it’s also to bring tennis to places that they don’t get to see this sort of level, the players that get to come through because of this event. “It’s a great way to grow the game and to expose people to the sport in a real fun, positive way.”