World TeamTennis Finals to air live on NBC Sports Network

NEW YORK (September 10, 2012) – World TeamTennis, the coed professional tennis league co-founded by Billie Jean King, today announced an agreement to air the WTT Eastern Conference Championship and the WTT Finals on NBC Sports Network, Sept. 15-16.

NBC Sports Network will air six hours of coverage from the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, set for Sept. 14-16 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.  The network will be the broadcast home for the Eastern Conference Championship on Sept. 15, and the WTT Finals on Sept. 16.  The Western Conference Championship on Sept. 14 and the Eastern Conference Championship on Sept. 15 will both be live streamed on WTT.com.

Leif Shiras will host the WTT broadcasts and will be joined by former WTT veteran Luke Jensen.

The WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO kicks off on Friday, Sept. 14, when the Orange County Breakers take on the Sacramento Capitals for the Western Conference title.  Action begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT and the match will be live streamed on WTT.com.

Venus Williams leads the undefeated Washington Kastles into the Eastern Conference Championship match against their rival New York Sportimes featuring Martina Hingis and John McEnroe on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 6:30 p.m. EDT.  The Kastles are riding a 30-match win streak, the second longest in U.S. pro sports team history.  Washington won the 2011 title with the first undefeated 16-0 record in WTT history.  The Eastern Conference final will air on NBC Sports Network at 12:30 a.m. EDT / 9:30 p.m. PDT that evening and will be live streamed on WTT.com.

The two Conference Champions will face off on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, in the WTT Finals which will air live on NBC Sports Network.  All four teams have won at least one WTT title, with the Sacramento Capitals leading the way with a League-record six titles.

Sacramento, Orange County, Washington and New York advanced to the WTT Finals Weekend after capturing the top two spots in their conferences during the 37th regular season of the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which ran July 9-28.  For tickets or other information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visit www.FamilyCircleCup.com/WTT or www.WTT.com/Finals.

GEICO is the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League.  Other official WTT Pro League national and regional sponsors for the 2012 season include Cancer Treatment Centers of America, DecoTurf, Kraft, Mylan, Sims Recycling Solutions, UBS and Wilson Racquet Sports.

WTT FINALS WEEKEND  – TV & LIVE STREAM SCHEDULE

Fri., Sept. 14 – Western Conference Championship- 6:30 p.m. EDT – live stream on WTT.com

Sat., Sept. 15 – Eastern Conference Championship – 12:30 a.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network (tape-delay) and live stream on WTT.com (Eastern Conference Championship live stream presented courtesy of the Washington Kastles)

Sun., Sept. 16 – WTT Finals – 3:30 p.m. EDT – LIVE on NBC Sports Network

MEDIA CONTACT:  Rosie Crews, WTT  817.684.0366  rcrews@wtt.com

About WTT Pro League presented by GEICO: 

The World Team Tennis (WTT) Pro League presented by GEICO showcases the best in professional team tennis with the innovative coed team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s.  The WTT Pro League has featured virtually every major champion of the Open era over the League’s past 36 seasons.  The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis.   WTT and the USTA are teaming up on number of initiatives, including development of the youth market through junior team tennis programs.  For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.

About NBC Sports Network:

NBC Sports Network is the 24/7 cable platform for NBC Sports’ rich heritage of unmatched storytelling, best-in-class production and utilizing broad promotion to make big events bigger. Now in more than 79 million homes, NBC Sports Network serves sports fans by airing coverage of the Olympic Games and Trials as well as the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, major college football and basketball, and horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown, among other events.  The network’s original programming, such as Costas Tonight, NFL Turning Point and NBC SportsTalk, exemplifies NBC Sports’ ability to tell stories and provide meaningful, relevant content. The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television. NBC Sports Network, which prides itself on serving sports fans across multiple platforms, is distributed via cable, satellite and telco operators throughout the United States.

Martina Hingis, Michael Stich, Helena Sukova among Nominees for 2013 Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame

NEWPORT, R.I., USA, September 6, 2012 – Martina Hingis, a former world No. 1 and the winner of five Grand Slam tournament singles titles, the 1991 Wimbledon champion and former world No. 2 Michael Stich, and the great Czech doubles player Helena Sukova, winner of 14 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles have all been nominated to receive the highest honor available in the sport of tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. All three are nominated for the induction Class of 2013 in the Recent Player Category. In the Master Player Category, Thelma Coyne Long of Australia, who captured 19 Grand Slam titles between the 1930s and 1950s, has been nominated. Additionally, three individuals have been nominated in the Contributor Category for their work toward the growth of tennis- ESPN’s longtime tennis broadcaster Cliff Drysdale, tennis promoter and industry leader Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac, the Romanian tennis player turned influential player manager and tournament promoter.

 

The announcement of the 2013 nominees was made on the air durng the ESPN2 telecast of the US Open, where Drysdale was applauded by his colleagues, Hall of Famers Pam Shriver and John McEnroe, along with Patrick McEnroe and Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, and Darren Cahill.

 

“Martina Hingis, Michael Stich, and Helena Sukova worked hard to achieve the ultimate prizes in tennis- top world rankings, Grand Slam titles, Fed Cup and Davis Cup success, and Olympic medals. For their dedication to our sport and extraordinary achievements, I’m very pleased to announce that they have been nominated to receive our sport’s highest honor, induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Stan Smith, who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1987 and now serves as the International Tennis Hall of Fame President and Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee.

 

 
Smith added, “We are also pleased to honor Australia’s Thelma Coyne Long for her extraordinary success on the court. And of course, from a commitment to effective tennis news coverage to building up some of the world’s best tournaments, Cliff, Charlie, and Ion have all changed the tennis landscape for the better, and it is thanks to their efforts that we are able to enjoy tennis on such a grand, global scale today. I extend my congratulations to the nominees and our gratitude for their many contributions to the sport of tennis.”

 

Voting for the 2013 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement early next year to reveal the Class of 2013 Inductees. The International Media Panel, which is comprised of tennis journalists and authors, will vote on the Recent Player nominee. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, will vote on the Master Player and Contributor nominees. To be inducted in any of the categories, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.

 

The Class of 2013 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event.

 

Tickets for the tournament and Induction Ceremony will go on sale later this year with a pre-sale for International Tennis Hall of Fame Members, followed by the General Public ticket sale. Individuals interested in becoming a Hall of Fame Member or purchasing tickets should call 401-849-6053 and/or visit www.tennisfame.com.

 

Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 225 people representing 19 countries. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis. The Hall of Fame offers an extensive museum that chronicles the history of the sport and honors the game’s greatest legends. Surrounding the museum are 13 historic grass tennis courts that date back to 1880 and are open to the public, which play host to the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour tournament, and the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in July. The facility hosts numerous additional public events year-round.

 

From winning the biggest titles in tennis to creating some of the sport’s most exciting tournaments, the nominees for induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013 have all been integral in shaping the history of tennis. Following are detailed biographies of the nominees, grouped by category.

 

Recent Player: Martina Hingis, Michael Stich, Helena Sukova

Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player Category is as follows: active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP or WTA Tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.

 

Martina Hingis, 32, of Switzerland, was the world No. 1 singles player for 209 non-consecutive weeks and the No. 1 doubles player for 35 non-consecutive weeks. She is in the elite company of Martina Navratilova, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Lindsay Davenport, and Kim Clijsters as one of just five players in history to have held both the singles and doubles No. 1 WTA ranking simultaneously. Hingis won three consecutive Australian Open titles (1997, 1998, 1999), as well as the Wimbledon and US Open titles in 1997. In addition to her five Grand Slam singles titles, she also captured nine major doubles titles (three w/ Jana Novotna, two w/ Anna Kournikova, and one each w/Helena Sukova, Natasha Zvereva, Mirjana Lucic, and Mary Pierce) and one mixed doubles title (w/ Mahesh Bhupathi). In 1998, she achieved a Doubles Grand Slam.

 

Hingis won a total of 43 singles titles and 37 doubles titles over the course of her career, and had records of 548-133 in singles and 286-54 in doubles. In 1998, she led the Swiss Fed Cup team to its only Fed Cup final (lost 3-2 to Spain). She captured two WTA Tour Championships in singles (1998 and 2000) and two in doubles (1999 and 2000).

 

In 1997, Hingis was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, the WTA Tour Player of the Year, and the ITF Player of the Year.

 

Born into a successful tennis family, Hingis first picked up a racquet at just two years old and entered her first tournament at age four. At 12 years old, she won the French Open junior title, becoming the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam junior title. She turned pro at age 14 and her career quickly took off, with Hingis setting a number of youngest-ever records along the way, including becoming the youngest ever world No. 1, a feat she achieved on March 31, 1997 at 16 years, 6 months, and 1 day. Hingis’ success was not based on powerful shots, instead she was known for her impeccable technical skill and ability to produce a wide array of shots. In particular, she was a talented net player and was able to place accurate drop shots just when she needed it most.

 

Hingis first retired from tennis in 2003, at the age of 22, due to injury. She made a comeback in 2006, winning two titles that year and closing the season at world No. 7. As a result, she was named the 2006 WTA Tour Comeback Player of the Year. She won her final title in 2007, before officially retiring. Since retirement, she has been active in World TeamTennis, and in 2011, she partnered with Lindsay Davenport to win the Roland Garros Legends title.

 

Michael Stich, 44, of Germany,was the 1991 Wimbledon champion, and in 1992, he partnered with John McEnroe to win the Wimbledon doubles title. In addition to his success at Wimbledon, he was a finalist at both the US Open (1994) and the French Open (1996). At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, he partnered with Boris Becker to win the Gold Medal in doubles. In 1993, he defeated Pete Sampras to win the year-end ATP World Tour Championships.

 

Stich achieved a career-high ranking of world No. 2, and he was in the year-end top-20 every year from 1991-1996. He won 18 singles titles, and 10 doubles titles. He holds a career singles record of 385-176 and a doubles record of 165-111.

 

Stich was a member of the Germany’s championship Davis Cup team in 1993, and he was a dedicated Davis Cup team member from 1990 – 1996. He compiled a winning record of 21-9 in singles and 14-2 in doubles.

 

A skilled player at both the baseline and the net, Stich was successful on all surfaces throughout his career, and in 1991 and 1993, he won professional tournaments on all four surfaces.

 

Since retirement, Stich has devoted most of his time the Michael Stich Foundation, which he established in 1994 to provide support for children infected with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, he stays involved with tennis by sponsoring tennis camps for junior players in his hometown of Hamburg and by serving as a commentator for Eurosport and for the BBC TV and Radio.

 

Helena Sukova, 47, of the Czech Republic, won an impressive 14 Grand Slam tournament titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles over the course of her career. She was also a two-time singles finalist at both the Australian Open and the US Open. She held the world No. 1 doubles ranking for 68 weeks and achieved a career high singles ranking of world No. 4.

 

Sukova captured a remarkable 69 doubles titles during the course of her career, and she compiled a doubles record of 752-220. She achieved a career Grand Slam in women’s doubles, winning four titles at Wimbledon, two at the US Open, one at the Australian Open and one at the French Open. In addition, she won two Silver Medals at the Olympic Games, partnered with Jana Novotna. In 1992, she won the doubles title at the WTA Championships with partner Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. She was a doubles finalist at the event four times.

 

In singles competition, she had a winning record of 614-307 and she won 10 singles titles. One of her most memorable singles victories was when she defeated Martina Navratilova in the semifinal round of the 1984 Australian Open, ending Navratilova’s historic 74-match winning streak. In 1985, she as a singles finalist at the WTA Championships.

 

Sukova was an integral part of the Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic Fed Cup teams for 13 years, and she was a playing member of four championship teams (1983, 1984, 1985, 1988). She holds several team records, including Most Total Wins – 57.

 

Sukova is a member of a prominent Czech tennis family. Her mother, Vera Puzejova Sukova was a women’s singles finalist at Wimbledon in 1962, and her father, Cyril Suk II, was president of the Czechoslovakian Tennis Federation. Her brother, Cyril Suk III, is a former professional player as well. The siblings teamed up to win three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, at the French Open in 1991 and at Wimbledon in 1996 and 1997.

 

Sukova retired in 1998, and in 1999, she helped re-establish the International Lawn Tennis Club of the Czech Republic and became its president. From 2001 until 2008, she served on the executive committee of the Council of the International Clubs. She remains active in tennis, and is a co-founder of the Kids and Junior Tennis Advancement Organization in the Czech Republic. From February 2001 through November 2008 she served on the Presidium of the Czech Olympians’ Club and in June 2007 she was appointed by the Czech Olympic Committee to the Presidium of the Czech Fair Play Club. Additionally, she is a member of the Champions for Peace Club, a group of famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport Organization.

 

Sukova earned a doctoral degree as a psychologist at Palacky University and since February 2011, she has served as vice president of the Association of Sport Psychologists.

 

Master Player Category: Thelma Coyne Long

Eligibility criteria for the Master Player Category is as follows: Competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.

 

Thelma Coyne Long, 94, of Sydney, Australia, had a remarkable career of more than 20 years (1935 – 1958), in which she captured a total of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles, including championships in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In 1952, she achieved a career-best ranking of No. 7. That same year, she completed an Australian triple by sweeping the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the Australian Championships.

 

In May 1941, during World War II, Long joined the Red Cross as a transport driver and worked in Melbourne, Australia. In February 1942, she joined the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) and rose to the rank of captain in April 1944. In recognition of her efforts throughout World War II, she was awarded both the Australian War Medal and Australian Service Medal for 1939 – 1945.

 

Upon her retirement, Long began coaching junior players in New South Wales. Long was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.

 

Contributor Category: Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, Ion Tiriac

Eligibility criteria for the Contributor Category is as follows: Exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation and character of the sport, in categories such as administration, media, coaching and officiating. Contributor candidates do not need to be retired from their activities related to the sport to be considered.

 

After a successful playing career in the 1960s and 1970s and a leadership role in the launch of the ATP, Cliff Drysdale turned his attention to tennis broadcasting, and for more than thirty years, he has been one of the most respected and appreciated voices of the sport. Drysdale, 71, has been on the air with ESPN since the network’s very first tennis telecast- a Davis Cup match between the United States and Argentina on September 14, 1979, just one week after ESPN’s debut. In the thirty-plus years since, Drysdale has called all four Grand Slam tournaments and countless important moments in tennis history. Known for his insightful analysis and engaging delivery, Drysdale was named “Best Tennis Announcer” by the readers of Tennis magazine four times. In addition to his television coverage, Drysdale has been regular contributor to Tennis magazine for more than 15 years. He has played an integral role in sharing the greatest stories of tennis, and has been an influential ambassador for the sport.

 

Drysdale was a member of the original “Handsome Eight” of World Championship Tennis, the tour that laid the groundwork for a viable men’s professional tennis tour, and he was one of the world’s top players at the dawn of the Open Era. With his contemporaries, he was a co-founder of the ATP, which was developed to give players a unified voice and in structuring the professional game for the Open Era. Drysdale served as the organization’s first president, in 1972 – 1973.

 

Originally from South Africa, but now a United States citizen, Drysdale was ranked in the year-end world top-10 six times and achieved a career high ranking of world No. 4. Drysdale was a finalist at the U.S. Nationals in 1965, and he won the US Open doubles title in 1975 with Roger Taylor. He won 35 singles titles and 24 doubles titles, and during his career he notched wins against some of the greatest champions of the sport including Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, and Ilie Nastase. He was a member of the South African Davis Cup team for eight years.

 

Today, in addition to his media work, Drysdale continues to take an active role in working to grow interest in the sport. Through his tennis management company, Cliff Drysdale Management, he works with tennis clubs and resorts on tennis programming development, operations, and tennis education programs.

 

Charlie Pasarell, 68, is most recently best known as the past tournament director, managing partner, and former owner of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but his contributions as a tennis industry leader have spanned all levels of the sport and have been a driving force in the growth of the tennis for more than forty years. Before assuming the leadership role of the Indian Wells event in 1981, Pasarell had already launched the National Junior Tennis League, which is dedicated to offering tennis programming to underprivileged children, and with fellow nominee Cliff Drysdale, he was a co-founder of the ATP.

 

Pasarell’s leadership activities were preceded by a successful playing career in which he achieved the No. 1 ranking in the United States in 1967. He was a member of the United States Davis Cup team for five years, including the championship team in 1968. Pasarell won 18 singles titles, including the U.S. National Indoor Championships in 1966 and 1967. Also in 1966, he was the NCAA Singles and Doubles champion, playing for UCLA. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pasarell has been a longtime resident of California.

 

A focus of Pasarell’s tennis career has always been finding ways to utilize the game to give back to the community. At the height of his playing career, in 1969, Pasarell partnered with Arthur Ashe and Sheriden Snyder to launch the National Junior Tennis League. The goal of the organization was to have a positive impact on at-risk children by introducing them to tennis to keep them off the streets and to encourage them to stay in school. Today, the program continues to be the largest grassroots tennis program in the United Sates, with more than 950 chapters. Many NJTL students have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, business leaders, and even a few professional tennis players.

 

In 1971, as tennis was in the pivotal transition to the Open Era, Pasarell and a group of his fellow players founded the ATP, with the goal of giving players a voice in the structuring the new professional game. Over the years, Pasarell has remained highly active in the leadership of the organization and the development of men’s pro tennis. He served as an active board member in the critical early years, from 1971 – 1978. When the Men’s International Professional Tennis Circuit became the ruling body of men’s tennis from 1986 – 1990, Pasarell served as a tournament representative on the board. When the new ATP World Tour replaced that organization in 1990, Pasarell was once again elected by the tournaments to serve as their representative, and he was re-elected to the position every year for 20 consecutive years, until he retired in 2010.

 

In 1981, Pasarell took over as tournament director of the ATP World Tour event in the Coachella Valley of California. At the time, the event was struggling and in danger of being removed from the region. Over the past 30 years, under Pasarell’s leadership, the event has grown to be the largest two-week combined ATP and WTA tennis tournament in the world and the most well-attended tennis event after the four Grand Slam events. The tournament has grown from 30,000 fans to attracting more than 370,000 fans, and it has gone from a television broadcast reaching 25 million homes to more than one billion homes worldwide. The growth has necessitated new, state-of-the-art tennis facilities, taking the venue from a 7,500-seat stadium court to a 24-court, 54-acre complex including a 16,100-seat main stadium, seven smaller stadiums, and 44 luxury suites.

 

After more than 30 years working on the event, Pasarell announced his departure from the BNP Paribas Open earlier this year, following another outstanding event that welcomed more than 370,000 fans and broke attendance records for the sixth year in a row.

 

A successful doubles player turned tennis power broker, Ion Tiriac, 73, has been an influential tennis leader in roles ranging from coach to player manager to tournament promoter. Raised in communist Romania, Tiriac explored an array of sports before discovering his greatest potential and opportunity in tennis. Today, he is the promoter of two successful ATP World Tour events and is ranked among the top-1,000 wealthiest people in the world by Forbes magazine.

 

In the 1970s, Tiriac and fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase partnered to form a successful doubles team. Tiriac took on a mentor type role in the partnership, and parlayed that experience into a successful career in tennis administration. Tiriac took a sharp, business-like approach to tennis and he worked tirelessly to promote the players, grow the tournaments, build up television broadcasts, and to grow the sport overall.

 

He went on to manage the careers of top players including Guillermo Vilas, Mary Joe Fernandez, Goran Ivanisevic, and most notably, Boris Becker, who won five Grand Slam titles while working with Tiriac.

 

In addition, Tiriac was a promoter and tournament director for numerous events including the ATP World Tour’s season-ending Masters Grand Prix, and two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open and the Madrid Masters. He is still an active leader on the Madrid Masters, and under his leadership the tournament has grown immensely, and is one of the most well attended annual events in Spain. In addition, he continues to promote tennis in his home country of Romania and is the owner/promoter of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy, an ATP World Tour 250 event held annually in Bucharest.

 

As a player, Tiriac was an instrumental part of Romania’s Davis Cup team, competing for 15 years, and helping the team advance to the finals three times. In 1970, he partnered with Nastase to win the French Open doubles title.

 

Known for his no-nonsense demeanor, beneath Tiriac’s tough shell lies the heart of a philanthropist and the vision and ability to make positive changes. In addition to his tennis work, since the fall of the communist government in Romania in 1989, he has worked to rebuild the country’s economic and social infrastructure, developing business in banking, real estate, and other ventures. In his hometown of Brasov, he built four orphanages. When the orphanages became obsolete years later, he turned them into retirement communities for the elderly. In addition, he has developed numerous scholarship opportunities for young people.

 

Tiriac is an Honorary President of the Romanian National Olympic Committee and a Honorary President of the Romanian Tennis Federation.

 

For additional information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, please visit tennisfame.com

 

 

# # #

 

About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum

Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide, and enshrining tennis heroes and heroines with the highest honor in the sport of tennis- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  In 1986, the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis, officially recognized the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum as the sport’s official Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a six-acre property that features an extensive Museum chronicling the history of the sport and honoring the 225 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility that are open to the public and to a club membership; a rare Court Tennis facility; and an historic 297-seat theatre. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. The buildings and grounds, which were constructed in 1880 by McKim, Mead & White to serve as a social club for Newport’s summer residents, are renowned for their incredible architecture and preservation. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners including BNP Paribas, Campbell Soup Company, Chubb Personal Insurance, Kia Motors and Rolex Watch USA. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.

Martina Hingis added to lineup for WTT Finals Weekend in Charleston, S.C.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (August 29, 2012) — Martina Hingis, the 2012 WTT Female MVP, has been added to the lineup of tennis stars for the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, Sept. 14-16, at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.

Hingis, a five-time Grand Slam singles champion, confirmed to League officials today that she will be in Charleston to lead her New York Sportimes team for the WTT Finals Weekend.  Hingis, who finished first in WTT women’s singles during the regular season, is expected to face off against Venus Williams in women’s singles during the Eastern Conference championship showdown on Sept. 15 between long-time rivals, the New York Sportimes and Williams’ undefeated Washington Kastles.  Hingis will be joined by Hall of Famer John McEnroe, Jesse Witten, Robert Kendrick, and Ashley Harkleroad for the Sportimes.  Chuck Adams is the coach of the Sportimes.

This will be a rematch of the July 21 contest that featured Williams defeating Hingis to rally the Kastles from six games back in the final set to give Washington a Supertiebreaker win over the Sportimes and keep their win streak intact.

The Western Conference title will be decided on Sept. 14 when the six-time champion Sacramento Capitals battle the Orange County Breakers.  The Breakers will be without the services of WTT veteran Lindsay Davenport who is out of the WTT Finals Weekend with a torn ligament in her left wrist.  Davenport, who is sporting a cast for the next several weeks, tripped at home and injured her wrist.  She will be replaced in the Breakers lineup by her teammate and former collegiate standout Jana Juricova.  Juricova, who played nine matches for Orange County during the regular season, won the 2011 NCAA singles championship while playing for UC-Berkeley and was also named ITA National Player of the Year in 2011.  Trevor Kronemann is the Breakers coach.

The lineup for the Kastles will be Williams, who last month won the Olympic gold medal in doubles with her sister Serena Williams, along with 2012 WTT Male MVP Bobby Reynolds, Leander Paes, Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova.  Paes is considered one of the sports’ greatest doubles champions, with 50 titles and having completed the career doubles Grand Slam earlier this year with a victory at the Australian Open.

The Kastles are looking to win their second consecutive WTT title and continue their 30-match win streak.  After capturing the 2011 title in Charleston with a 16-0 record, the Kastles won all 14 of their 2012 regular season matches.  The Kastles have not lost a WTT match since July 22, 2010, which gives them the second longest U.S. pro sports team win streak in history with 30 consecutive wins.  The longest U.S. pro sports team win streak is 33 games, held by the NBA’s 1971-72 Lakers.   2012 WTT Coach of the Year Murphy Jensen is at the helm of the Kastles.

The best of the West face off on Friday, Sept. 14, at 6:30 p.m. EDT, when the Orange County Breakers take on the Sacramento Capitals in the Western Conference Championship.   The Breakers are the top seed in the West and their lineup is WTT Male Rookie of the Year John-Patrick Smith, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Jana Juricova and Travis Parrott.  Groenefeld and Parrott are both mixed doubles Grand Slam champions.  Groenefeld teamed with Sacramento’s Mark Knowles to win the 2009 Wimbledon mixed doubles title, while Parrott and Carly Gullickson of the Boston Lobsters won the 2009 US Open mixed championship.

South African Kevin Anderson, currently ranked No. 34 in the world in singles, leads the Sacramento squad that also includes former doubles world No. 1 Mark Knowles, and young Americans Yasmin Schnack and Asia Muhammad.  Wayne Bryan, father of Olympic gold medalists Bob and Mike Bryan, is the longtime coach of the Sacramento Capitals.

The Conference Champions advance to the WTT Finals on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3:30 p.m. EDT with the winner taking home the King Trophy, named after WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.

Ticket specials for the WTT Finals Weekend are available through the Family Circle Tennis Center box office.  Fans who purchase Terrace Level tickets for Friday and Saturday through the FCTC Box Office will receive a free ticket for Sunday’s Championship Final.  A full weekend Terrace Level pass is $77.00.  Full weekend Box Seat passes are available for $160.50.  Single session tickets are $38.50 for Terrace Level and $53.50 for Box Seats.  All fees are included in ticket prices.  For tickets, travel packages or more information, please contact the Box Office at 1-800-677-2293 or visit www.familycirclecup.com.

For more information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visit www.WTT.com/Finals.

WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO – Schedule

Western Conference Championship –#2 Sacramento Capitals vs. #1 ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS - Friday, September 14 – 6:30 PM EDT

Eastern Conference Championship –  #2 New York Sportimes vs. #1 WASHINGTON KASTLES - Saturday, September 15 – 6:30 PM EDT

WTT Finals – #2 Western Conference Champion vs. #1 EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION - Sunday, September 16 – 3:30 PM EDT

Team Rosters(subject to change):

NEW YORK SPORTIMES

Ashley Harkleroad (USA)

Martina Hingis (SUI)

Robert Kendrick (USA)

John McEnroe (USA)

Jesse Witten (USA)

Coach: Chuck Adams

WASHINGTON KASTLES

Leander Paes (IND)

Anastasia Rodionova (AUS)

Arina Rodionova (AUS)

Bobby Reynolds (USA)

Venus Williams (USA)

Coach: Murphy Jensen

ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS

Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)

Jana Juricova (SVK)

Travis Parrott (USA)

John-Patrick Smith (AUS)

Coach: Trevor Kronemann

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS

Kevin Anderson (RSA)

Mark Knowles (BAH)

Asia Muhammad (USA)

Yasmin Schnack (USA)

Coach: Wayne Bryan

About WTT Pro League presented by GEICO: 

The World Team Tennis (WTT) Pro League presented by GEICO showcases the best in professional team tennis with the innovative coed team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s.  The WTT Pro League has featured virtually every major champion of the Open era over the League’s past 37 seasons.  The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis.   WTT and the USTA are teaming up on number of initiatives, including development of the youth market through junior team tennis programs.  For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.

Sportimes Rally Past Aces, 16-15

NEW YORK — Martina Hingis and Jesse Witten won singles events, both by 5-0 counts, and Hingis won a super-tiebreak over Liezel Huber, 7-6, as the New York SPORTIMES rallied for a 16-15 World TeamTennis victory over the St. Louis Aces at SPORTIME on Randall’s Island tonight.

The SPORTIMES (5-1) trailed the entire match, finally earning a tie on Hingis’s 5-0 victory in the fifth event, women’s singles.  By WTT rules, Hingis’ win over Maria Sanchez (with Huber replacing Sanchez for the final game) narrowed evened the match at 15, extending the match to a super tiebreak.  With the super-tiebreak tied at 6-6, Hingis won the deciding point, coming to the net after a 12-ball rally and stroking the winner.

Jean-Julien Rojer and Roman Borvanov’s opening event men’s doubles win, Huber and Sanchez topped the SPORTIMES’ duo of Hingis and Katie O’Brien, 5-1, to give the Aces (4-2) a commanding 10-3 match lead.  Witten swept a 5-0 third event over Borvanov to pull the hosts to within 10-8.  Huber and Rojer’s 5-2 win extended the Aces’ margin to 15-10 before Hingis’s heroics gave the SPORTIMES their fifth straight win.

New York visits first-place Washington in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday, while Western Conference-leading St. Louis continues its eastern swing against winless Philadelphia.

World TeamTennis
at New York
N.Y. SPORTIMES 16, St. Louis Aces 15
Men’s Doubles – Roman Borvanov/Jean-Julien Rojer (St. L.) def. Travis Parrott/Jesse Witten, 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Liezel Huber/Maria Sanchez (St. L.) def. Martina Hingis/Katie O’Brien, 5-1
Men’s Singles – Jesse Witten (N.Y.) def. Roman Borvanov, 5-0
Mixed Doubles – Liezel Huber/Jean-Julien Rojer  (St. L.) def. Martina Hingis/Travis Parrott, 5-2
Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis def. Maria Sanchez (Liezel Huber replaced Sanchez in Game 5), 5-0
Super Tiebreak – Martina Hingis def. Liezel Huber, 16-15

WTT Results – 7/7/11

FINAL RESULTS – All matches complete:

New York Sportimes def. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS 23-13 (OT)

Men’s Singles – Jesse Witten (Sportimes) def. Brendan Evans (Freedoms) 5-2

Women’s Doubles – Martina Hingis\Abigail Spears (Sportimes) def. Lisa Raymond\Beatrice Capra (Freedoms) 5-2

Mixed Doubles – Abigail Spears\Greg Jones (Sportimes) def. Nathan Healey\Lisa Raymond (Freedoms) 5-4

Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Sportimes) def. Beatrice Capra (Freedoms) 5-0

Men’s Doubles – Nathan Healey\Brendan Evans (Freedoms) def. Greg Jones\Jesse Witten (Sportimes) 5-2

Overtime – Men’s Doubles – Greg Jones\Jesse Witten (Sportimes) def. Brendan Evans\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 1-0

WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Boston Lobsters 25-10

Women’s Doubles – Rennae Stubbs\Serena Williams (Kastles) def. Coco Vandeweghe\Mashona Washington (Lobsters) 5-2

Men’s Doubles – Leander Paes\Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac\Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-1

Men’s Singles – Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-2

Mixed Doubles – Serena Williams\Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Coco Vandeweghe\Eric Butorac (Lobsters) 5-1

Women’s Singles – Serena Williams (Kastles) def. Coco Vandeweghe (Lobsters) 5-4

ST LOUIS ACES def. Newport Beach Breakers 21-20

Men’s Doubles – Travis Rettenmaier\Lester Cook (Breakers) def. Roman Borvanov\Jean-Julien Rojer (Aces) 5-4

Men’s Singles – Roman Borvanov (Aces) def. Lester Cook (Breakers) 5-4

Mixed Doubles – Jean-Julien Rojer\Liezel Huber (Aces) def. Marie-Eve Pelletier\Travis Rettenmaier (Breakers) 5-3

Women’s Singles – Anne Keothavong (Breakers) def. Maria Sanchez (Aces) 5-2

Women’s Doubles – Maria Sanchez\Liezel Huber (Aces) def. Anne Keothavong\Marie-Eve Pelletier (Breakers) 5-3

Sacramento Capitals def. KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS 23-16 (OT)

Men’s Doubles – Mark Knowles\Nick Monroe (Capitals) def. Alex Kuznetsov\Ricardo Mello (Explorers) 5-3

Women’s Singles – Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Madison Brengle (Explorers) 5-0

Men’s Singles – Nick Monroe (Capitals) def. Ricardo Mello (Explorers) 5-2

Mixed Doubles – Kveta Peschke\Alex Kuznetsov (Explorers) def. Yasmin Schnack\Mark Knowles (Capitals) 5-3

Women’s Doubles – Madison Brengle\Kveta Peschke (Explorers) def. Christina Fusano\Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) 5-4

Overtime – Women’s Doubles – Madison Brengle\Kveta Peschke (Explorers) tied Christina Fusano\Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) 1-1

Standings

Eastern Conference MP W L PCT MB

Washington Kastles         3  3  0 1.000  —

New York Sportimes         3  2  1 0.667  1

Boston Lobsters            3  1  2 0.333  2

Philadelphia Freedoms      3  0  3 0.000  3

Western Conference MP W L PCT MB

Newport Beach Breakers     3  2  1  0.667  —

St Louis Aces              3  2  1  0.667  0

Sacramento Capitals        2  1  1  0.500  0.5

Springfield Lasers         2  1  1  0.500  0.5

Kansas City Explorers      2  0  2  0.000  1.5

Next Matches: 7/8/2011

Philadelphia Freedoms @ BOSTON LOBSTERS, 7:00 PM (EDT)

Washington Kastles @ SPRINGFIELD LASERS, 7:05 PM (CDT)

New York Sportimes @ SACRAMENTO CAPITALS, 7:30 PM (PDT)

Newport Beach Breakers @ KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS, 7:35 PM (CDT)

N.Y. SPORTIMES Declaw Boston Lobsters in World TeamTennis, 21-16

Martina Hingis won her singles and women’s doubles matches, pacing the New York SPORTIMES to a 21-16 World TeamTennis victory over the visiting Boston Lobsters at SPORTIME on Randall’s Island in Manhattan Wednesday night.

In men’s doubles, the SPORTIMES tandem of Jesse Witten and Greg Jones topped Jan-Michael Gambill and Eric Butorac, 5-3.  Hingis stretched New York’s lead with a 5-2 women’s singles victory over Coco Vandeweghe.  Men’s singles went to Gambill, who topped Witten, 5-3.  The mixed doubles team of Vandeweghe and Butorac pulled Boston to within a point at 16-15 with a 5-3 win over Hingis and Jones, before Hingis and Abigail Spears finished off the victory with a 5-1 women’s doubles triumph over Vandeweghe and Mashona Washington.

With the win, New York avenged a loss to Boston in the season opener on Tuesday.

Both teams are in action on Thursday as the SPORTIMES visit Philadelphia, while the Lobsters travel to Washington.

World TeamTennis
at New York
N.Y. Sportimes (1-1) def. Boston Lobsters (1-1), 21-16
Men’s Doubles: Jesse Witten/Greg Jones (N.Y.) d. Jan-Michael Gambill/Eric Butorac, 5-3
Women’s Singles: Martina Hingis (N.Y.) d. Coco Vandeweghe, 5-2
Men’s Singles:  Jan-Michael Gambill (Bos.) d. Jesse Witten, 5-3
Mixed Doubles: Coco Vandeweghe/Eric Butorac (Bos.) d. Martina Hingis/Greg Jones, 5-3
Women’s Doubles: Martina Hingis/Abigail Spears (N.Y.) d.  Coco Vandeweghe/Mashona Washington, 5-1

A New Martina Hingis Leads The Sportimes back into Action…

She was known as “The Swiss Miss,” and at the ripe old age of 18 dominated the women’s tennis scene, especially the hard courts and tough fans of New York’s US Open. Now at age 32, a reborn, married and healthy Martina Hingis will return to New York and the fans who loved her as a member of the New York Sportimes of World Team Tennis. The Sportimes will begin defense of their 2010 Eastern conference title Wednesday the 6th when they take on The Boston Lobsters on Randall’s Island.

“I love the Team Tennis format that Billie Jean has created, and getting to play on the court in New York, at the beautiful facility John McEnroe has will be a thrill for sure,” Hingis said this week. “I feel great, I am enjoying life, and I want to have a great month for the fans and our team.”

The Martina Hingis of today is much more like the graceful player that stormed to the top of the women’s tennis game and much less like the rebellious twentysomething whose life turned due to injuries, boredom and other off the court issues in the latter half of the last decade. She has a new husband, showjumper Thibault Hutin, a new doubles partner at Grand Slams seniors events (Lindsay Davenport, who she teamed to win the French Open Masters with in May), and a new outlook on life that is refreshing in a sport that usually casts off its former stars for long periods of time. “I have my horses, my tennis and a very nice balance right now, especially not travelling 30 weeks a year playing,” she added.

Hingis will be a Sportimes mainstay for their matches this coming month. Fans can catch her no less than five times at the beautiful Randall’s Island facility, playing singles (including a match with the Washington Kastles Serena Williams) and mixed doubles with team captain McEnroe.

More importantly for tennis, it appears that one of their former bright stars is back and enjoying the game, and will bring that joy to the fun-filled world of WTT starting on Wednesday. For all the details visit newyorksportimes.com.

Q & A With Bill Mountford of World Team Tennis

World Team Tennis completed another successful season back in July. With a unique format and fast action, it’s no wonder it has been around for 35 years.

But what about its future? Well today, Tennis Ledger is proud to interview Bill Mountford, the former Director of the National Tennis Center and the LTA in England, who is currently Vice President of WTT.

Tennis Ledger: Tell us a little about the Elton John event in Washington, DC this November.

Bill Mountford: WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO is an annual charity event co-hosted by longtime friends Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John. Elton is a huge tennis fan and wanted to do something in the tennis community so he teamed up with Billie Jean to create Smash Hits. The money raised from this tennis event and pre-match reception, as well as the live auction, will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Washington AIDS Partnership. This is the first time in the event’s 18 year history that it will be held in the Washington, D.C. area. It’s a great night of tennis for a great cause. The talent is unbelievable – Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, James Blake, Anna Kournikova and we will be adding more names. All these tennis greats volunteer their time and talents and the quality of tennis is terrific. (NOTE: visit www.WTT.com/SmashHits for information and tickets.)

TL: How would you assess this past season of WTT?

BM: The 2010 season was a great celebration of the 35-season legacy of World TeamTennis. We had a season loaded with top players like Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe and the return of Martina Hingis among so many other recognizable names. In the WTT Pro League, we like to showcase three generations of tennis and bring quality, professional team tennis to supportive markets. Only two of our 10 markets have other big-time professional tennis events, so we recognize that it is vital to showcasing our sport in this country. Our 35th season culminated with one of the most exciting finals in recent history with the Kansas City Explorers winning their first-ever WTT Championship before a standing-room-only hometown crowd. It was a great finish to a memorable season.

TL: Are there any expansion plans on the horizon?

BM: As far as the WTT Pro League is concerned, we are not looking to expand beyond 10 teams in the U.S. right now. However we are discussing opportunities to take World TeamTennis to international markets. We had a successful WTT exhibition event at the 2010 Australian Open and we hope to build on that. On the Recreational TeamTennis side of the business, we are always seeking opportunities to establish new leagues in new markets. These WTT “Rec Leagues” are a great compliment to USTA Leagues all over the country, and there are 16,000 players who currently participate. We’d all love to see that number continue to grow.

TL: Any new innovations anticipated for 2011?

BM: We have begun preparations for the 2011 WTT Pro League season and we surely remain open to trying new things. My “blink” response to the question would be: “Yes!” WTT has been long been viewed as the “think tank” for professional tennis and we enjoy our role as innovators. It is likely that a few of our new ideas for the pro league – and for the overall betterment of our sport – will be put forth. Stay tuned on this…

TL: How actively involved is Billie Jean King with WTT?

BM: Billie Jean remains quite active with World TeamTennis, and WTT will always be a big part of her legacy in the sport. Along with CEO Ilana Kloss, she certainly remains the leading ambassador and spokesperson for WTT. Billie Jean has often said that if you want to see her philosophy on life, then you should watch a World TeamTennis match because it showcases men and women working together with equal contributions.

Richard Kent is the author of the tennis books “Inside The US Open” and “The Racket.”

Sportimes Outlast Buzz

US Open Champion Kim Clijsters won her singles match, defeating fellow former No. 1 Martina Hingis, and teamed with Abigail Spears to win women’s doubles, pacing the New York Sportimes to a 22-17 World TeamTennis victory over the New York Buzz Monday at Sportime on Randall’s Island.

The host Sportimes (8-4) moved 1 1/2 gamea ahead of second place Washington for the top spot in the WTT Eastern Division with three matches remaining in the regular season.  The No. 1 seed will play a home match on Friday in the WTT playoff semifinals.

In the other feature match on the evening, Alex Domijan edged John McEnroe, 5-4.  McEnroe led, 4-3, but Domijan served a 4-1 eight game, then won the tiebreak, 5-3, to take the men’s singles event.

The Sportimes mens doubles team of Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten closed out the match, defeating Scoville Jenkisn and Alex Domijan, 5-3.

The Buzz dropped to 2-9 on the season.

MXD: Sarah Borwell/Scoville Jenkins (Buzz) def. Kim Clijsters/John McEnroe, 5-3
WD: Kim Clijsters/Abigail Spears (Sportimes) def. Martina Hingis/Sarah Borwell, 5-2
MS: Alex Domijan (Buzz) def. John McEnroe, 5-4
WS: Kim Clijsters (Sportimes) def. Martina Hingis, 5-2
MD: Robert Kendrick/Jesse Witten def. Scoville Jenkins/Alex Domijan, 5-3