Dec 12, 2012 — One of tennis’ most respected doubles players in history and former world No. 1, Mark Knowles brought professional tennis back to his home country of the Bahamas for one incredible tennis invitational, that included a Pro-Am and exhibition. (Gallery and video at bottom)
The recently retired 41-year-old welcomed Lindsay Davenport, Sam Querrey and Sabine Lisicki among others to the Atlantis, Paradise Island to help raise money for local children’s charities at the Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational (MKCTI). The proceeds brought in this year topped $100,000, bringing total contributions to around $900,000.
“It was another great year at the 12th MKCTI. We raised a lot of money and had great support from our sponsorships,” said Knowles. “We had fantastic players down here, so it’s always special. The impetus behind the event is to raise money for those that are in need, and we were very successful doing that again this year.”
The main beneficiaries include the Sassoon Heart Foundation (Pediatric), the Cancer Society For Pediatric Care, the Association for the Physically Disabled, the Special Olympics, Mark Knowles Tennis scholarships for promising junior tennis players and numerous additional children’s charities.
“It’s always great to come here,” said Sabine Lisicki, who looked particularly radiant and enjoyed playing doubles with her Pro-Am partner. “I’ve known Mark for quite a few years and it’s been a lot of fun to play. The fact that it helps kids makes me always want to come here to help. It’s a nice place.”
After enjoying a cocktail reception sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Atlantis at Fathoms on Dec. 6, diamond and platinum sponsors had the opportunity to team up with the stars in the popular Pro-Am the following day.
Each team was guaranteed two matches in the fun, but competitive tournament with bragging rights on the line. Knowles and Miles Nadal, CEO of MDC Partners, defeated Lisicki and her partner David Demuth for the title, while Brent Haygarth teamed up with Betsy Wannakuwatte to win the consolation bracket over Querrey and Jeremy Stuby.
“The Pro-Am was great,” Querrey said. “This is my first time down here and we had a good time. It’s something I really enjoyed and I’m hoping to come back again next year.”
The players, event organizers and sponsors reunited in the evening for a special dinner at the Ripples Deck, featuring a gourmet buffet and live and silent auctions. The items on offer included signed racquets from Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, a dual photograph signed by Roger Federer and Jack Nicklaus and the dress Serena Williams wore when she won this year’s US Open final. The highest-selling item was a US Open poster signed by number of top players, which sold for $6,000.
The invitational was anchored by the tennis exhibition on Saturday, Dec. 8, where the players were split into two teams. Fans were treated to three sets of tennis, using the World TeamTennis format. Play opened with a mixed doubles match between Lisicki and Knowles against Davenport and former doubles world No. 1 Donald Johnson and was followed by a men’s singles encounter featuring Querrey versus Xavier Malisse. In the final match-up, Knowles and Malisse joined forces to take on Querrey and Alex Kuznetsov.
Afterwards, Knowles spoke to the crowd, where he thanked host Atlantis for their hospitality, the sponsors, players and fans for their support and recognized Sir Durward Knowles, the 1964 Olympic gold medalist in sailing. Fans were then treated to a meet and greet with the players.
“Being on the west coast, we don’t usually come this far east to vacation, so it’s great,” said Davenport. “I came here in 1999 and this is my next time here, so it’s fun to be able to share it with my family now. Mark has become a good friend over the years, along with [wife] Dawn and their kids. I’m thrilled we were able to come this year.”
The Mark Knowles Management Group would like to thank all involved in making this event an annual success and gives its appreciation to players, sponsors, charities, friends and family, fans, and followers who have supported Knowles’ charitable endeavors since its inception in 2001.
The 2012 Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational Player Field: Lindsay Davenport, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Brent Haygarth, Donald Johnson, Craig Kardon (Coach to the Stars), Mark Knowles, Alex Kuznetsov, Sabine Lisicki, Xavier Malisse, Asia Muhammad, Yasmin Schnack, Tara Snyder Haygarth and Jesse Witten.
The 2012 Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational Sponsors: Atlantis, the Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism, MDC Partners, Pictet, Fast Ferries, American Airlines, Ultimate Limo Service, Odyssey Aviation, Ministry of Youth Sports & Culture, H.G.Christie, Everkey Global, The Balmoral, Caribbean Bottling, Kerrygold, Corner Bank, Schooner Bay, S.G.Hambros, Daron & Sheri Roberts, Vince Menard, Alex Pier, Sean & Sarah Farrington, Peter & Pippa Vlasov, Mark & Nancy Holowesko, Chris Day, Sir Durward Knowles, R.E. Barnes, Donald Tomlinson, Graham & Aidie Garner, Dave & Fran Donald, Steve Swords and Peter & Vicky Knowles Andrews.
(Parts taken from press release; Photos copyright Matt Fitzgerald/MKCTI)
NEW YORK – Jesse Witten and Martina Hingis each won a singles and doubles match as the NY Sportimes defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms, 22-16, in World TeamTennis action at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island Friday night.
The doubles team of Robert Kendrick and Witten ralled for at 5-3 win in the opening set, winning five of the last six games to top Luka Gregorc and Jordan Kerr. Hingis then won a singles match over Kristyna Pliskova and mixed doubles with Kendrick, both by 5-3 counts, to lift the Sportimes’ advantage to 15-9.
But Philadelphia battled back behind twins Kristyna and Karolina Pliskova, who beat Hingis and Ashley Harkleroad, 5-2, to trim the Freedoms’ deficit to 17-14.
Witten completed the scoring with a 5-2 singles win over Gregorc for the final margin.
The Sportimes (2-1) visit the Kansas City Explorers on Sunday and Sacramento Capitals on Monday before returning to Randalls Island on Wednesday for a rematch vs. Philadelphia. The Freedoms (1-2) host Springfield Saturday at Villanova. For more info, go to www.NYSportimes.com
NY Sportimes 22, Philadelphia Freedoms 16
Men’s Doubles – Robert Kendrick / Jesse Witten (Sportimes) def. Luka Gregorc/Jordan Kerr, 5-3
Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Sportimes) def. Kristyna Pliskova, 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Hingis/Kendrick def. Kerr/Karolina Pliskova
Women’s Doubles – Pliskova/Pliskova def. Ashley Harkleroad/Hingis, 5-2
Men’s Singles – Witten def. Gregorc, 5-2
The Washington Kastles kept their unbeaten season alive with a 23-15 victory over the New York Sportimes in World TeamTennis action at SPORTIME on Randall’s Island. Serena Williams won her women’s doubles and mixed doubles matches, Leander Paes won his men’s doubles and mixed doubles and Bobby Reynolds was victorious in singles and men’s doubles to pace the victorious Kastles (13-0).
The mixed doubles team of Williams and Paes began with a 5-1 victory over Hingis and Travis Parrott, before Hingis gained a measure of revenge with a 5-3 singles victory over Williams to pull New York (7-7) to within 8-6.
The men’s doubles event followed, with Paes and Reynolds teaming for a 5-2 victory that extended the Kastles’ margin to 13-8. Williams and Rennae Stubbs topped Hingis and Katie O’Brien to give the Kastles a commanding 18-11 advantage.
Reynolds finished off the win with a 5-4 win over Jesse Witten.
The match concludes the regular season for the Sportimes, who now need a loss by the Boston Lobsters in their late match tonight at Sacramento or Thursday at Newport Beach, in order to qualify for the WTT Championship, Friday through Sunday in Charleston, S.C.
Washington hosts Philadelphia Thursday as it tries to complete the undefeated regular season.
Washington Kastles 23, New York Sportimes 15 at New York
Mixed doubles – Serena Williams/Leander Paes (Wash.) def. Travis Parrott/Martina Hingis, 5-1
Women’s singles – Martina Hingis (N.Y.) def. Serena Williams, 5-3
Men’s doubles – Bobby Reynolds/Leander Paes (Wash.) def. Travis Parrott/Jesse Witten, 5-2
Women’s doubles – Serena Williams/Rennae Stubbs (Wash.) def. Katie O’Brien/Martina Hingis, 5-3
Men’s singles – Bobby Reynolds (Wash.) def. Jesse Witten, 5-4
Springfield’s doubles tandem of Jean Anderson and Rik DeVoest won the last five games of their doubles match against John McEnroe and Travis Parrott to defeat the host New York Sportimes, 20-17, in World TeamTennis action on Randall’s Island in New York tonight.
The Sportimes (6-4) had won eight straight games to take a 17-15 lead and appeared headed for the win before Anderson and DeVoest pulled out the victory for the Lasers (3-6).
DeVoest started things for Springfield, edging Jesse Witten in a tiebreaker, before the women’s duo of Carly Gullickson and Lilia Osterloh extended the Lasers’ margin to 10-5 with a 5-1 triumph in the second event. Gullickson then teamed with DeVoest to edge the Sportimes’ Marquee team of Martina Hingis and John McEnroe, 5-4.
But Hingis swept the women’s singles event, 5-0, over Osterloh (with Gullickson replacing her in the fifth game), to pull the Sportimes to within a single point at 15-14.
Second-place New York visits Kansas City on Saturday to take on the Exporers, led by Bryan Brothers, then play two matches in Albany on Monday and Tuesday before concluding the regular season at home vs. first-place Washington and Serena Williams on Wednesday. Springfield returns home to take on Philadelphia on Saturday.
World TeamTennis at New York
Springfield Lasers 20, New York Sportimes 17
Men’s singles: Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. Jesse Witten (N.Y.), 5-4
Women’s doubles: Carly Gullickson/Lilia Osterloh (Spring.) def. Martina Hingis/Katie O’Brien, 5-1
Mixed doubles: Carly Gullickson/Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. Martina Hingis/John McEnroe, 5-4
Women’s singles: Martina Hingis (N.Y.) def. Lilia Osterloh (Carly Gullickson substitution, game 5), 5-0
Men’s doubles: Jean Andersen/Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. John McEnroe/Travis Parrott 5-3
The Washington Kastles have gone on a winning streak this season, going 6-0 by defeating the New York Sportimes on Tuesday evening 20-19. Even with the help of legends John McEnroe and Martina Hingis, New York could not pull off a win, succumbing in the last minutes of the match and losing in a super tiebreaker. Upon winning the final point, the stadium erupted in cheers with the Kastles’ players embracing each other in joy. Opponents Leander Paes and Martina Hingis even shared an extended tender moment at the net exchanging stories.
Courtesy of: Kelyn Soong
The evening began with a John McEnroe sighting. He arrived to his press conference dressed in some questionable fashion and it only got better (worse?) when he stepped on court to warm up Jesse Witten who opened in men’s singles. As eclectic as McEnroe is, he still somehow surprises even the most ardent fan.
Courtesy of: Kelyn Soong
McEnroe went on to play both the mixed and men’s doubles, looking deceptively sharp even if not too energized. He was pretty low-key but seemed to take the loss the hardest, planting his face in a towel and looking dejected on the bench.
Conversely, the most radiant and glowing player of the evening was the lovely Martina Hingis. She was the designated “towel girl” for her teammates and did it with excitement, shining her unforgettable smile every time she got up. For a woman that is only 30 years old, it’s a wonder why she has been retired for four years. With a slew of players in her generation still winning grand slams, namely Li Na and Francesca Schiavone, tennis misses her charismatic personality. And speaking of grand slams, a fellow reporter asked Hingis about her aspirations to play mixed doubles with a certain top Swiss gentleman in next year’s Olympics. You can find her answer and the full scoop here. It’s juicy.
Hingis is currently sporting sportswear from her upcoming fashion line called Tonic during all the World Team Tennis matches this summer. The official launch date of her line is set for March 2012.
With only a few matches left before the end of the season, Kastles’ owner Mark Ein is hopeful that his team can do a repeat of their 2009 Championship season.
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 Monday night.
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 her for the final game) 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.
The Sportimes next home match will be Thursday, July 14 against Philadephia when John McEnroe of the Sportimes will face his legendary rival Bjorn Borg.
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.
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 Vandewegh 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
By Lindsay Gibbs
The New York Sportimes will kick off their 2011 World Team Tennis season this week as they take on the Boston Lobsters on Tuesday night (in Boston) and make their home debut on Wednesday (July 6th) at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City at 7:00 PM. Martina Hingis, the former world No. 1 and five-time major champion, will play for the Sportimes as they take on a Boston Lobsters team featuring former U.S. Davis Cupper Jan-Michael Gambill.
World Team Tennis is an innovative co-ed sports league that was co-founded by Billie Jean King. The competitive team atmosphere, multi-colored courts, mixture of stars, and integration of singles and doubles provides a fresh and energized take on the conventional tennis format.
The New York Sportimes have been competing in World Team Tennis since 2000. They are currently defending their 2010 Eastern Conference Championship and hope to win their second World Team Tennis Title this year to match the one they earned in 2005. The Sportimes 2011 team includes Martina Hingis, John McEnroe, Robert Kendrick, Katie O’Brien, Jesse Witten, and Abigail Spears and is coached by Fritz Buehning.
The Sportimes will play five matches at Randall’s Island (July 6, 11, 14, 15, 20), and two home matches in Albany at the SEFCU Stadium (July 18 and 19). Many legends of the game will compete this year as World Team Tennis celebrates its 36th season, “A Season of Number Ones.” On July 14th at Sportime Stadium, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors will renew their heated rivalry when Connors’ Philadelphia Freedoms come to town. On July 20th Serena Williams and Martina Hingis will face off when the Washington Kastles come to Randall’s Island.
Ticket information and a full schedule for the highly anticipated New York Sportimes season can be found at www.NYSportimes.com You can also find out more information on the other nine World Team Tennis Teams and sixty-three matches happening around the country this summer at WTT.com.
WASHINGTON, DC (July 24, 2009) – The Washington Kastles upset the top-seeded New York Sportimes 22-19 in Overtime to win the Advanta WTT Eastern Conference Championship title on Friday night and advance to Sunday’s Advanta WTT Finals at Kastles Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Oudsema hit a second serve ace in the final set to win the first game in Overtime and put the Kastles into Sunday’s Advanta WTT Finals against the winner of the Western Conference Championship clash between the Springfield Lasers and the Newport Beach Breakers (also played on Friday night).
2009 Male MVP Leander Paes and Rennae Stubbs got the Kastles off to a strong start in the opening set of mixed doubles with a 5-4 win over Robert Kendrick and Abigail Spears. Spears dominated Olga Puchkova in women’s singles 5-2 to give the Sportimes a 9-7 lead after two events. Paes and Scott Oudsema outgunned Kendrick and Jesse Witten 5-3 in men’s doubles to tie up the match 12-12 at halftime.
Last season’s Female MVP Rennae Stubbs and Puchkova energized the boisterous crowd with a dominating 5-2 win over Spears and Christina Fusano in women’s doubles, giving the Kastles a 3-game cushion leading into the final set.
Kendrick sent the match into Overtime and pulled the Sportimes within two games by outlasting Oudsema in men’s singles 5-4. However Oudsema’s serving heroics secured the first Finals appearance for the Kastles in only their second season in the League.
Tickets for the Advanta WTT Finals are available by calling (202) 4-TENNIS or at www.washingtonkastles.com. The match starts at 5 pm EST on July 26 at Kastles Stadium and will air on Tennis Channel on July 29 at 7 pm EST.
Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League – Results for Friday, 7/24
(Home teams in capital letters)
ADVANTA WTT EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:
Washington Kastles def. NEW YORK SPORTIMES 22-19 (OT)
Mixed Doubles – Leander Paes\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Abigail Spears\Robert Kendrick (Sportimes) 5-4
Women’s Singles – Abigail Spears (Sportimes) def. Olga Puchkova (Kastles) 5-2
Men’s Doubles – Scott Oudsema\Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Robert Kendrick\Jesse Witten (Sportimes) 5-3
Women’s Doubles – Rennae Stubbs\Olga Puchkova (Kastles) def. Christina Fusano\Abigail Spears (Sportimes) 5-2
Men’s Singles – Robert Kendrick (Sportimes) def. Scott Oudsema (Kastles) 5-4
Overtime – Men’s Singles – Scott Oudsema (Kastles) def. Robert Kendrick (Sportimes) 1-0
Newport Beach Breakers @ SPRINGFIELD LASERS, 7:05 PM (CDT)
Eastern Conference MP W L PCT MB
y – New York Sportimes 14 10 4 0.714 –
x – Washington Kastles 14 7 7 0.500 3
Boston Lobsters 14 7 7 0.500 3
Philadelphia Freedoms 14 4 10 0.286 6
New York Buzz 14 4 10 0.286 6
Western Conference MP W L PCT MB
y – Springfield Lasers 14 12 2 0.857 –
x – Newport Beach Breakers 14 9 5 0.643 3
Sacramento Capitals 14 6 8 0.429 6
Kansas City Explorers 14 6 8 0.429 6
St Louis Aces 14 5 9 0.357 7
x = Clinched Playoff Spot
y = Clinched #1 seed for Conference Championship
For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.com