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Some of the biggest names in tennis gathered at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday for a fun charity exhibition tournament ahead of the US Open—but it was basketball player Jimmy Butler who stole the show during the star-studded event.

The six-time NBA All-Star and Miami Heat forward is a big tennis fan, regularly spotted court-side during matches featuring Coco Gauff and Alcaraz, including during his run to last year’s US Open title. It’s no surprise that the ultra-competitive and always-entertaining Butler had a few tricks up his sleeve, as he took the court against the world No. 1 at the “Stars of the Open”.

Butler paired up with last year’s semifinalist Frances Tiafoe, while Alcaraz partnered with Grammy-winning artist Sebastian Yatra in a doubles clash for the ages.

Yatra, who got a few tennis and training tips from Rafael Nadal himself ahead of his Armstrong debut, brought humor and Colombian flair, but it was Butler who brought the skills—living up to his “Jimmy Buckets” nickname in the process.

After consulting with Tiafoe, Butler—who was dressed as a US Open ball person and even helped out the crew during the evening—lured Alcaraz in with a not-so disguised drop shot (he announced the shot as he was hitting it). But then he followed it up with a well-placed passing shot that left the crowd on their feet:


Another highlight of the evening came when American No. 1 Jessica Pegula took the court alongside service-dog-in-training ‘Ace’. The pup seemed to have a hard time not chasing after every flying tennis ball, but earned a few treats in approval when he stayed on the sidelines.

Pegula teamed up with four-time US Open winner John McEnroe and faced off with Matteo Berrettini and 1990 champion Gabriela Sabatini, before the night wrapped up with an appearance from Jennifer Brady.


The American, who reached the 2021 Australian Open final, has been sidelined with knee and foot injuries for nearly two years. Brady paired up with Christopher Eubanks against husband-and-wife duo Gael Monfils and Elina Svitolina as she prepared for her US Open return.

The ticketed event raised $320,000 for the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, which provides both immediate and long-term humanitarian aid for families and communities impacted by the ongoing war.