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Tennis With Evert, Baseball With Microsoft: D.C. Scene

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Vali Nasr Book Party
William Nitze, charman of Oceana Energy Co., Vali Nasr, author of "The Dispensable Nation" and dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and Ann Nitze, a private art dealer. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Former Senator John Breaux said tennis taught him “how to handle winning and losing.”

Last night, Breaux, now senior counsel at Patton Boggs LLP, was honored for his contributions to the sport, along with former tennis ace Chris Evert, during the Geico Champions Celebration dinner at the residence of Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom.

Hafstrom’s wife, Eva, filled in as host as he was in his home country with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Breaux, who has been involved with a number of charity tournaments through the years, started playing the sport as a boy in Louisiana. He said his first court was asphalt with “cracks so big you could break your ankle.”

His game has progressed but remains modest compared to Evert’s: “She’s won 18 Grand Slam Championships. I’ve won none.” Evert joked that his “grip was a little dodgy.”

The dinner raised about $170,000 for the Junior Tennis Champions Center and its Game On program, which sends the center’s players and coaches into inner-city schools.

Other guests included Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles tennis team and chief executive of Venturehouse Group LLC; Rynthia Rost, vice president of public affairs at Geico Corp.; and Swedish tennis champion Mats Wilander.

Home Runs

Matt Gelman, senior director of congressional affairs at Microsoft Corp., practiced his swing at last night’s Home Runs for Horton’s Kids at Nationals Park.

He was joined in the batting cage by congressional staff members, other lobbyists and their children.

“This really is Washington at its best. Everybody leverages their contacts and pitches in,” said Ivan Zapien, vice president for federal relations at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The event, now in its fifth year, helps the needy children of Washington’s Ward 8.

Microsoft and Wal-Mart were among the grand slam sponsors, helping bring in more than $350,000.

Jeanne Wolak, senior director for legislative and regulatory strategy for Southern Co., wasn’t too confident about her batting ability, but “it’s fun,” she said.

Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming Republican, was raring to get behind the plate, even in her red suit, after a day on the Hill.

Dean’s Book

Federal prosecutor Paul Nitze introduced author Vali Nasr at a book party at the Georgetown home of his parents, art collectors William and Ann Nitze, Monday night. William Nitze is chairman of Oceana Energy Co.

It seemed the appropriate thing to do as Nasr is the dean of the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. The younger Nitze and the school share the name of the late secretary of the Navy and acclaimed Cold War policy strategist.

Guests including French Ambassador Francois Delattre, Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero and Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae gathered in the Nitze family’s parlor for deviled eggs, artichoke fritters and smoked bacon bites, and some current-affairs chat spurred by Nasr’s new book, “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat.”

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Katya Kazakina, Philip Boroff, Thomas Mulier and Scott Reyburn on art auctions.

To contact the writer on this story: Stephanie Green in Washington at sgreen57@bloomberg.net or on Twitter @stephlgreen.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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