Maria Sharapova to host tennis event in LA this December
World No 3 Maria Sharapova will host a sports and entertainment event this December at the Tennis Centre at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
The 5-time Grand Slam winner will also participate in the event, where she will face off against Madison Keys of the U.S.A. 19th ranked Keys has faced off against the former World No 1 once before, at the 2014 Cincinnati Masters. The 20-year-old lost that match 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori will play American Jack Sock at the tournament. Nishikori has had a disappointing year, withdrawing first from Wimbledon and then the Cincinnati Masters with injuries. 22-year-old Sock was recently defeated by South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets at the Cincinnati Masters.
Retired American ace Andy Roddick, who won the 2003 U.S. Open, will also participate. Among the roster of former players is also American tennis player Michael Chang, who now coaches Nishikori.
The event will not feature only tennis stars, as comedienne Chelsea Handler is also due to play at the exhibition game.
Los Angeles has not seen professional tennis since 2009, when a WTA event was last held in the area.
''Los Angeles is just a great sporting community, but not with a lot of tennis going on,'' Sharapova told tennis.com
She aims to make this a regular offseason happening, a month or so before the Grand Slam season starts at the Australian Open.
''This is a great opportunity to see how it goes; the first year, you're always working on a few things,'' Sharapova said. ''It's been in the making for a long time, and we want to make it a high-quality event. That's what people expect to see.''