A grand ‘Slam Jam’

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Wayne Bryan lines up the pros to play at Malibu Racquet Club: Chuck Adams, Ken Flach, Steve Johnson, Sloane Stephens, Evan Jurgensen, MRC General Manager Trey Waltke, Sandor Noszaly, Mike Bryan, Chris Ojakian, Tracy Austin, Tony Graham, Rick Leach, Bob Bryan and Prakash Amritraj. Photo by Brenda Whitehill Schlenker

American tennis royalty descended upon Malibu this past Saturday for a lighthearted day of skillful tennis and fine food. Twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan, Camarillo natives and the top men’s doubles team of all-time with 11 Grand Slam titles and 73 professional titles overall, hosted several of their pro and celebrity friends at the Malibu Racquet Club in the charity event “The Bryan Brothers Slam Jam.”

Proceeds from the event benefited the Bryan Brothers Foundation, which identifies and supports specific charities and causes that help at-risk youth survive and thrive.

More than 300 aficionados turned out for the event, which kicked off at 2 p.m. with a pro-am tournament. Several amateur tennis enthusiasts who paid extra to play in the pro-am saw their dreams become reality for one day by stepping on the court with the pros.

Malibu resident Peter Tripp, who was paired with Mike Bryan, couldn’t contain his excitement.

“It’s awesome,” Tripp said. “It’s like the best day of tennis ever when you can play with the best.”

Joining the pros Saturday was Sloane Stephens, an 18-year-old who made it to the third round of the U.S. Open this year before falling to former world number one Ana Ivanovic. The teenager, currently ranked 92nd in the world, was the talk of the day for her powerful play.

“She’s one of the next great American tennis players,” Trey Waltke, Malibu Racquet Club’s general manager, said of Stephens.

Staring each other down across the net, former doubles stars Tracey Austin and Ken Flach exchanged some playful banter, as the Bryan twins’ father and event emcee Wayne Bryan egged them on with his microphone.

Austin said Flach had been her doubles partner at the 1988 U.S. Open, “and he tanked.”

Flach resisted the bait, though, saying only, “Tracy is beautiful and she looks better than she did in ’88.”

But the gender tension was just beginning when, after the pro-am, the Bryans joined up with several pros and some celebrity friends into two teams of five for a battle of the sexes. On the women’s side were actress Kaley Cuoco from television’s “The Big Bang Theory” and Donna Mills of “Knots Landing” fame, as well as former pros Austin, Andrea Yeager and Pam Shriver, who now works as a tennis commentator.

Facing off against the women were the Bryan brothers, as well as Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj and actors Pierce Brosnan and Jon Lovitz.

Lovitz wowed the crowd with some big-time serves and groundstrokes that put the women’s team on their heels. But the ladies recovered. Cuoco and Mills took some points off of the Bryan brothers after they decided to play together-literally. The brothers locked hands and moved around the court as if chained together, winning the first few points before the actresses showed their mettle and rallied for several of their own.

Brosnan called the event “a hoot,” but made it clear afterward there would not be a repeat performance next year from him.

“I don’t play tennis in public,” Brosnan said. “That’s my first and last celebrity tennis match.”

Of Lovitz and his big serve, the former James Bond actor said, “he’s a wily bird.”

“All the credit goes to [former Wimbledon champion] Alex Olmeda, he was my teacher,” Lovitz said.

The former Saturday Night Live comedian said of the event, “It’s a lot of fun. I met the Bryan brothers when they were 14. They’re really good people.”

Finally, the Bryan brothers came up against some real competition as Mardy Fish, currently the top-ranked American player at eighth overall in the world, walked onto the court. Fish and Amritraj’s son, Prakash, took on the Bryans for a lively few games of top-level tennis.

The party then headed from the tennis court to the dance floor. The Bryans, who are avid musicians, took to the stage and played some classic rock with Mike on guitar and Bob on keyboard, backed by Counting Crows drummer Jim Bogios and Michael Johns of “American Idol” fame taking care of vocals.

The Bryan Brothers Foundation has lent support to programs such as City Impact, an organization that helps at-risk youth in Ventura County, as well as The Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The foundation also received one of the 12 inaugural $10,000 grants from the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour’s inaugural Aces for Charity program, which gives to charitable causes nominated by ATP World Tour players and tournaments.