Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | 8:53 p.m.
Tennis beauty Anna Kournikova will trade her racquet for a paddle this weekend and join a handful of actors for an all-star table tennis tournament at the Sands Expo Center.
While Kournikova, 28, left the professional tennis court several years ago, the Russian-born model-athlete will pick up her game on a much smaller scale Saturday.
What’s more, the so-called, "Anna Kournikova of table tennis," Serbian-born table tennis starlet Biljana “Biba” Golic will also take part. She and Kournikova have both been known to make the lists of so-called sexiest women in sports.
While Golic, 31, might not as well-known as her famous full-court comparison, she was recently named, “Sexiest Athlete” by Spike TV.
Joining the stunners on the table-top court on Saturday will be actors Antonio Sabato Jr. and small-screen stars Regina King (“Southland”) Aaron Paul (“Big Love”) and Justin Kirk (“Weeds”).
Judah Friedlander of NBC’s hit Thursday night comedy, “30 Rock,” will host the evening event.
The HardBat Classic Celebrity table tennis tournament is being held in conjunction with the extended, non-celebrity HardBat Classic competition that kicks off on Friday.
More than just a star-studded photo-op, the three-day contest is being billed as the “biggest baddest throwdown in the history of table tennis.”
Organizers promise it will be the largest table tennis tournament ever assembled in the U.S. with more than 1,000 players from all walks of life taking part.
While the event will be big, the prize will be big, too. This weekend’s winner will go home with an impressive $100,000 grand prize.
The celebrity portion of the tournament will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday and is expected to continue until about 9 p.m.
A VIP afterparty will be held in the Palazzo Sportsbook’s Bar and Grill following the star-studded segment of the competition.
The HardBat Classic is being sponsored by high-end table tennis equipment manufacturer Killerspin and organized by the same company that produces “American Idol” and “Price is Right,” FremantleMedia Enterprises, along with the Mark Gordon Company and @radical.media.
The main contest is open to table tennis enthusiasts of all skill levels. Registration details are available on the HardBat Classic Web site.
Melissa Arseniuk writes about Las Vegas entertainment and celebrity events. She can be reached at 702-948-7823 or by e-mail at [email protected].