Washington Kastles Fall to Andy Roddick-Led Springfield Lasers

Andy Roddick World Team Tennis

Photo credit: Kevin Koski for the Washington Kastles

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 11, 2013) The Mylan World TeamTennis champions Washington Kastles lost their first home match in more than two years Thursday, falling to the Springfield Lasers 22-15 in front of the third straight capacity crowd at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf.

Washington entered Thursday’s match 16-0 all-time since moving to their Southwest Waterfront venue in 2011, but as the Kastles have now started a new streak: losing. It was the second straight loss for the Kastles, who on Tuesday set a U.S. professional sports records with 34 straight wins.

For the second straight night, Washington won the first set, with Kevin Anderson beating former world number one Andy Roddick in a battle of big servers 5-2. But as was the case against the Texas Wild on Wednesday, Washington lost the final four sets to jetison the match. – including a nail-biting final set loss of 5-4 in men’s doubles.

Roddick, a part owner of the WTT, joked earlier in the week that he hoped Washington would be undefeated when the two teams met Thursday so Springfield could end the streak. He said before that match that he was “pissed” that had lost on Wednesday.

“The Kastles have been the ones creating the story lines for World TeamTennis the last couple of years,” Roddick said. “I was pissed the streak ended last night. There are few things I can get up for anymore, so that was disappointing.”

Kastles coach Murphy Jensen said that team has a target on them, with every opponent playing their very best to defeat them. He said the Kastles are still learning to integrate the new members of the team and that he expects the Kastles to resume winning very soon. And he reminded anyone who asked that the Kastles dropped their first four matches before winning thei first WTT championship in 2009.

Roddick said he had not played tennis for about nine months prior to hitting some before the WTT season started on Sunday. He praised his teammates for carrying the Lasers in their defeat of Washington.

“I was a little worried of how my shoulder would come around, I hadn’t served in nine months,” Roddick said in a pre-match news conference. “I’m still going so that’s good. We’ll see how tonight feels.”

He said he picked up a racket just three times this year and hit only lightly during the last 10 days.

Despite their loss, he praised the Kastles for helping push more attention to the league and for having one of the best, loudest and supportive venues.

Before the match, Roddick noted he has a special fondness for playing in Washington, D.C., where he won his first significant pro match at age 17 and found subsequent success in the city’s storied Legg Mason tournament.

He praised the WTT for its ability to quickly seize on needed improvements in the game.

Roddick also said that questions about fading U.S. tennis skills on the international level reflect how the U.S. had been spoiled in the past as well as a need for greater, broader support for tennis. He said he got most excited during Wimbledon watching the feeds of people all across Britain watching Andy Murray play in the final; that type of support is what would help U.S. tennis, he said.

He said he has no plans to be a spectator at the U.S. Open and only felt regret when watching Wimbledon when he realized he had a record of 2-13 against the men who survived the first rounds.

“I think its foolish to think that if you’ve done something for so long you can just kind of delete it from your memory bank or delete any emotion attached to it,” Roddick said. “I never expected that.”

The breakdown:

Springfield Lasers 22, Washington Kastles 15
Men’s Singles: Kevin Anderson (Kastles) def. Andy Roddick (Lasers) 5-2
Women’s Singles: Vania King (Lasers) def. Anastasia Rodionova (Kastles) 5-3
Mixed Doubles: Jean-Julien Rojer/Alisa Kleybanova (Lasers) def. Leander Paes/Anastasia Rodionova (Kastles) 5-3
Women’s Doubles: Vania King/Alisa Kleybanova (Lasers) def. Alla Kudryavtseva/Anastasia Rodionova (Kastles) 5-0
Men’s Doubles: Andy Roddick/Jean-Julien Rojer (Lasers) def. Leander Paes/Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) 5-4