Noah Rubin and Jamie Loeb, who have made big splashes in the tennis world in recent weeks, will have another big day in the spotlight on August 21, when they join Wimbledon men’s champion Novak Djokovic and women’s semifinalist Lucie Safarova in competing in the Johnny Mac Tennis Project Benefit at SPORTIME Randall’s Island.
John McEnroe, Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist, actor Edward Norton and others will participate in the massive Pre-US Open fundraiser.
“I want to personally thank Novak for donating his time in support of my foundation, Johnny Mac Tennis Project,” said McEnroe. “This a tremendous opportunity for two of our brightest JMTA stars to show their skills against the best in tennis. All of us at JMTA are so proud of what Noah and Jamie have accomplished, and also excited that a player of Lucie’s caliber has added her support to this special night.”
Loeb will take on Safarova, currently ranked at No. 17 on the WTA Tour, at 6:30 p.m., followed by Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon men’s singles champion, against Rubin at 7:30.
Rubin, 18, of Long Island, advanced through qualifying, winning eight matches – six in the main draw – on the Wimbledon grass to claim the junior title. He defeated sixth-seeded Stefan Kozlov in the finals to cap a run that also included wins over the seventh and 12th seeds.
Loeb, 19, from Ossining, N.Y., had an incredible year at UNC, recording a 53-4 singles mark, including 19-1 in the fall, racking up the most single-season wins in UNC history, and helping the Tar Heels to the National championship match. The ITA All-American in singles and doubles is also the first UNC female player to be the top-ranked singles player in the country.
Safarova, 27, is a native of the Czech Republic. She has won five titles since turning pro in 2002, most recently in Quebec City last year. In addition to her semifinal run at Wimbledon, which included a win over 10th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova, Safarova reached the fourth round at Roland Garros. Her current ranking matches her career best.
The evening will also include pro-celebrity doubles action, featuring Djokovic, McEnroe and their guests, Lundqvist and Norton, both almost as serious about their tennis as they are about their day jobs, as well as other promising junior players from the JMTA, a lively auction and great hospitality, with all net proceeds to support the efforts of Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity.
JMTP provides scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area, as well as introducing the sport to hundreds of new junior players each year in the neighborhoods surrounding Academy locations. JMTP benefit nights in previous years have featured the likes of Bjorn Borg (2011), Andre Agassi (2012) and Jim Courier (2013). JMTP and Sportime Clubs, home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, have already provided over $1.5 million in scholarships and no cost programming to young players in NYC and its communities.