WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 9, 2013) Unbeaten. Untied. Unstoppable. And now, unmatched.
The Mylan World TeamTennis’ champion Washington Kastles won their 34th straight match tonight, setting a new professional sports unbeaten record and launching them solidly toward another WTT title.
The Kastles dispatched conference rival Boston Lobsters in a 25-12 victory, sweeping all five sets – with the victory nailed by the duo that has spent the most time on the team, men’s double partners Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds.
“I’ve been really lucky to have had a great Olympic career and a great Davis Cup career,” said Paes, who remains one of the top doubles players in the world. “And this is exactly like that.”
The record-setting victory also had sweet resonance: the Lobsters were the last team to defeat the Kastles on July 22, 2010, in the final match of the 2010 regular season. There have been four wins in a Super tiebreaker, seven victories by a single game and 10 match points saved during the streak.
“You can’t even dream about making history and breaking a record like this one. But this incredible feat is a testament to the incredible support we have gotten from our community and to the inspiration that our players have drawn from our passionate fans,” said Mark Ein, the Kastles’ owner.
Ein wore the same brown dress shoes he wore when the team captured the 2009 title, the day that Kastles coach Murphy Jensen had all the players put pieces of tape on their shoes to symbolize team unity.
The 34-match Kastles unbeaten streak eclipses the mark set by the NBA 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Washington has won seven matches by just one game, earned eight overtime victories, and saved 10 match points throughout the course of their historic run.
The Lakers streak was omnipresent in the press kits handed out to the media and, in a touch on unplanned irony, symbolically by one of the Kastles’ public spirited announcer, who revved the crowd on stilts, making him more than 7 feet tall – about the same height as Wilt Chamberlain on that Laker team.
Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers, who was involved with World TeamTennis in the 1970s as an executive for the Los Angeles Strings, issued a congratulations statement this evening after the Kastles’ win. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers won 33 consecutive games, a mark broken Tuesday night when the Washington Kastles posted their 34th consecutive victory.
“Winning 33 consecutive games was an amazing accomplishment by our 1971-72 Lakers team, as evidenced by the fact that no other team has come close to reaching it for over 40 years now. On behalf of the Buss family and the Lakers family, I want to congratulate the Washington Kastles, their players, and our good friends Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss on this milestone accomplishment of theirs.”
The Kastles are a strong favorite to win their third consecutive Mylan WTT title and their fourth King Trophy in five years. Only two other WTT teams have won three or more championships: the Sacramento Capitals, with six, and the Los Angeles Strings, with three. The Kastles are the only WTT team to post a perfect season and the only major sports team in history to have consecutive perfect seasons in 2011 and 2012
“We had an amazing experience that has never happened before,” Kastles coach Murphy Jensen said. “We put a group of characters together, added some spice and made some magic. And there were a lot of people. Dynasty? You can say dynasty, gosh darn right you can.”
“We look at what is in front of us. This is a team that works hard. Winning is a habit and a culture. We never give up and we are tough to beat,” Jensen said.
Veteran Kastles players Paes, Reynolds and Anastasia Rodionova were joined this year by Kevin Anderson and Martina Hingis, who started the winning early Tuesday night.
“Some math or statistics guy did a study as to whether we could do the streak and said we had a better chance of winning the lottery,” Reynolds said. “If you look on the papers, the ranking, that sort of thing, we all (on all the WTT teams) are comparable. But there is something magical about our team. We play for each other, not for ourselves.”
Washington is now 2-0, and in early possession of first place in the Mylan WTT Eastern Conference. Boston, after opening the season defeating conference rival New York Sportimes, is now 1-2. New York is 1-2 and Philadelphia Freedom is 0-2.
Men’s Singles – Kevin Anderson (Kastles) def. Amir Weintraub (Lobsters) 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Anastasia Rodionova/Martina Hingis (Kastles) def. Jill Craybas/Katalin Marosi (Lobsters) 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Martina Hingis/Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Katalin Marosi/Eric Butorac (Lobsters) 5-3
Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Kastles) def. Jill Craybas (Lobsters) 5-2
Men’s Doubles – Leander Paes/Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac/Amir Weintraub (Lobsters) 5-2
On Wednesday, the Kastles travel to Dallas to play the Texas Wild (formerly the Kansas City Explorers), then return to Kastles Stadium at the Wharf on Thursday against the Springfield Lasers, featuring former world No. 1 and U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick. They finish streak week Saturday on the road against the Sacramento Capitals, the first face off between those two teams since last year’s one point WTT title win by the Kastles.
Roddick said earlier in the week that he was pulling for the Kastles to continue the winning streak so that he and the Lasers will have the chance to stop it. He may get his chance.
Gallery by Camerawork USA
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 8, 2013) They used new players, a new strategy and then closed with longtime heroes, the same First Lady Michelle Obama cheering in the stands and the same result: the Mylan World TeamTennis’ champion Washington Kastles won their 33rd straight match today, earning the team a share of professional sports’ much vaunted unbeaten record and continuing their march into sports history.
Led by newly acquired Martina Hingis and Kevin Anderson, the Kastles opened their season at Kastles Stadium on the Wharf with a 23-15 victory over archrivals the New York Sportimes. Hingis was the 2012 Mylan WTT Female MVP last year as a member of the Sportimes.
The 33-match Kastles unbeaten streak ties the mark set by the NBA 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. On Tuesday, the Kastles face the Boston Lobsters as they move to set an unprecedented 34 win undefeated streak sports mark; the Lobsters are the last team to defeat the Kastles on July 22, 2010, in the final match of the 2010 regular season.
“This is one of the most fantastic moments I can ever imagine,” team owner Mark Ein said. “We have always promised Washington exciting tennis and Washington has joined with us in refusing to lose. I am thrilled for this fantastic group of tennis players, for those who have supported us and for our contribution to Washington’s great sports history.”
Kastles coach Murphy Jensen changed his lineup and his traditional order of matches for home contest, starting with Anderson in men’s singles. Backed by three aces, Anderson defeated the Sportimes Jesse Witten 5-2.
Hingis, in her Kastles’ debut, then defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld 5-1.
“I was nervous and it was weird at the beginning playing my old team. I shook it off,” Hingis said. “It was my first match. I was nervous. You get out there and then get going.”
Mixed doubles was next and, for the first time in his coaching the Kastles, Jensen took advantage of WTT rules permitting substitution. He started Anderson – and his big serve – with Hingis, against Robert Kendrick and Kveta Peschke. He then substituted Kastles’s captain and double star Leander Paes after Anderson played the first game – the same strategy Sacramento used against the Kastles in last year’s 2012 championship match. Anderson played for Sacramento last season.
Washington won mixed doubles in a tiebreaker, 5-4.
Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova then lost to Groenefeld and Peschke 5-3 to put the Kastles at 18-12 going into men’s doubles to close the match. “They are the best doubles team in the world,” Hingis said. “We tried to have a big lead coming into that one.”
Paes and Kastles’ closer Bobby Reynolds spotted Kendrick and Witten a lead in the final set, then gutted out a 5-3 win to seal the 23-15 victory.
“If a team is going to beat us, they are going to have to work very hard,” Paes said. “We are putting in the hours of practice. when you look at our bench, it is a bench of champions. Everyone is doing what we do best.”
As for being asked to seal the win, Paes said: “Very happy to close. We are all hungry to take the ball.”
Reynolds, the 2012 Mylan WTT Male MVP, said “Ever since last season finished I’ve been looking forward to getting back and finishing this. Every night is a new match and that’s how you have to approach it.”
The Kastles are a strong favorite to win their third consecutive Mylan WTT title and their fourth King Trophy in five years. Only two other WTT teams have won three or more championships: the Sacramento Capitals, with six, and the Los Angeles Strings, with three. The Kastles are the only WTT team to post a perfect season and the only major sports team in history to have consecutive perfect seasons.
New York has been one of the Kastles’ toughest foes over the last two seasons and Monday’s match was typical of the bruising court battles that have thrilled fans repeatedly.
“I reminded them of what we do as a team – that is how we win,” Jensen said. “Each point, each game, each set we have a team focus. That remains our way of playing.”
After Tuesday’s match with Boston, the Kastles will again be at home on July 11, and July 17, against the Springfield Lasers, featuring former world No. 1 and U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick; July 20 against the Sportimes; July 22 against the Philadelphia Freedom, and July 24 against the Lobsters. WTT conference championships are July 25 with the WTT championship set for July 28 on the home court of the Eastern Conference winner.
Said Hingis: “It was my first match. I was nervous. You get out there and then get going.” And about Boston? “I’m warmed up now,” she said with a smile.
By Romi Cvitkovic
From a grandmother doing “The Dougie,” to 2011 Washington Kastles’ tennis players receiving commemorative championship rings, to familiar D.C. faces in the crowd like Kastles’ owner Mark Ein, former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty and current Tennis Channel commentator Brett Haber, there is something in store for every tennis fan during the Washington Kastles’ season at The Wharf in downtown D.C.
Thursday night’s home opener against the New York Sportimes marked the Kastles’ 19th straight win that stretched from last year’s perfect 16-0 season. Returning players Leander Paes, Bobby Reynolds and Arina Rodionova, along with newcomer Anastasia Rodionova, entertained the crowd with five tight matches and energetic play, that culminated in a 20-18 win.
The evening festivities began with mixed doubles as Anastasia Rodionova and Leander Paes took on the duo of Martina Hingis and Robert Kendrick. Paes, a thirteen time men’s and mixed doubles Slam champion, carried his partner with his deft hands at net to even the score at 4-4. Tennis wouldn’t be tennis without a disputed call, and after a brief discussion with the official by the Sportimes coach, play continued — but the Sportimes had lost their momentum. Paes quickly knocked off four clean winners, including a backhand volley to seal the set, 5-4(1).
Next up was women’s doubles featuring the Rodionova sisters (the “Hot Rods”) taking on Martina Hingis and Ashley Harkleroad (the “Models”). With Hingis, a former World No. 1, and Harkleroad, a former World No. 39, the Rodionova sisters had an uphill battle. But with competitive rallies, good looks, and giggling players, it was difficult not to get energized. Arina’s serve was broken at love with a couple of unforced errors and the “Hot Rods” quickly went down 1-3. They re-grouped and broke back on Hingis’ serve but two games later, the “Hot Rods” were again broken by the “Models”, losing 3-5.
With the Sportimes leading with a score of 9-8, the men’s doubles team of Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds kicked it into high gear over the tandem of Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten. Reynolds, a former World No. 46 in doubles, blasted serves while Paes fed off his lead to put away easy volleys. In the blink of an eye, the Kastles’ were up 4-0 on a Sportimes team that was struggling to find their balance. Reynolds, nicknamed “The Closer” for his ability to seal the team win on the final men’s singles matches, did much the same as he served out a 5-0 win in doubles, giving the Kastles’ a 13-9 edge.
Halftime was full of spectator giveaways, quickstart tennis with Paes and Coach Murphy Jensen with two lucky young fans, as well a ring presentation for Rennae Stubbs, who was part of the 2011 Washington Kastles Championship team. The short ceremony had Coach Jensen and Paes praising Stubbs, Paes receiving a kiss from both Stubbs and Jensen(!), and Stubbs commenting on her love of the city of Washington D.C.
After crowd applause and appreciation, the tennis action was quickly underway as Anastasia Rodionova took on Martina Hingis in the women’s singles. As Hingis hit deep into the court, Rodionova responded with wicked backhand winners to even the set out at 2-2. After failing to convert on three break points, Rodionova self-destructed hitting error after error, giving Hingis the set, 5-2.
With the score tightly standing at 15-14 for the Kastles, the concluding men’s singles match between Bobby Reynolds and Jesse Witten had a whole season riding on the outcome. Always the most intense match of the night, it didn’t disappoint as it went the distance with a tiebreaker at 4-4 and a Reynolds fistpump to the crowd. Witten, although deceptively agile and hard-hitting, couldn’t do much to hold back an energized Reynolds who reeled off three winners to go up 3-0 in the tiebreaker. After a Witten error and an unreturnable serve by Reynolds, the Kastles “Closer” sealed the win, 20-18.
Catch the Washington Kastles this month as they battle for another perfect season! Full schedule and for tickets, click here.
Full gallery below; credit to author.
It took nearly eight hours through three rain delays, but the Washington Kastles finally made World TeamTennis history by winning the WTT Championship and completing the first undefeated 16-0 record in WTT’s 36 seasons. The Kastles overpowered the St. Louis Aces 23-19 at the WTT Finals presented by GEICO on Sunday evening at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
Slowed by the first rain delay shortly after the 5 p.m. match start time, it took more than three hours for St. Louis to win the opening set of mixed doubles, 5-3. The Aces, led by Jean-Julien Rojer and 2011 Female MVP Liezel Huber, won 72% of their first service points in a tight battle with Male MVP Leander Paes and Rennae Stubbs.
Stubbs and Rodionova upended Huber and Tamira Paszek in women’s doubles, 5-0, to give the Kastles a 8-5 lead after the second set. The Kastles continued to roll in men’s doubles, powering past Rojer and Roman Borvanov 5-2.
Rodionova, who was named MVP of the WTT Finals, took control in women’s singles and edged Paszek to push the Kastles lead to seven games heading into the final set. St. Louis staged an impressive rally in men’s singles with Borvanov holding off Reynolds 5-4 to send the match into Overtime. Borvanov won the first three games in Overtime to close the gap to 22-19 before Reynolds held serve to close out the historic victory just after 1 a.m.
Rennae Stubbs also made history by becoming only the fourth player in WTT history to be on five Championship teams. Kastles co-captain Stubbs joins an elite list of 5-time WTT Champions – Martina Navratilova; Richie Reneberg; and Craig Kardon (4 as player; 1 as coach).
The Kastles finished the season with a 16-0 mark, while the Western Conference Champion St. Louis Aces finished at 9-7.
For more on WTT, visit WTT.com.
The Washington Kastles moved one step closer to their second World TeamTennis title and the first undefeated season in WTT Pro League history with a 23-15 victory over the Boston Lobsters in the WTT Eastern Conference Championship final. The Kastles advance to Sunday’s WTT Finals presented by GEICO to face the winner of Saturday’s Western Conference Championship match.
Leander Paes, who was announced as the 2011 WTT Male MVP prior to the match, partnered with Rennae Stubbs to power past Boston’s Eric Butorac and Mashona Washington, 5-2, in the opening set. That opening match set the tone for the rest of the first half as Stubbs and Arina Rodionova dominated Washington and her partner Irina Falconi in women’s doubles 5-1. The Kastles cruised to a 15-5 halftime lead after Paes and Bobby Reynolds defeated Butorac and Jan-Michael Gambill in men’s doubles, 5-2.
Falconi tried to turn the tide in women’s singles as she faced off against WTT’s Female Rookie of the Year Rodionova. Falconi jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Rodionova shifted gears and evened out the set at 4-4. Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand winner for the 5-4 victory and the first set win for the Lobsters.
Gambill won men’s singles 5-3 to send the match into overtime. Reynolds closed out Washington’s 15th consecutive victory by winning the first Overtime game to give the Kastles the 23-15 win. The win gives 2011 Coach of the Year Murphy Jensen and his squad a shot at making WTT history in Sunday’s final. No team in WTT history has ever gone undefeated throughout the entire regular and post-season.
The St. Louis Aces and the Sacramento Capitals face off for the Western Conference title at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 23. The winner will play the Kastles at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 24, for the King Trophy in the WTT Finals. The Finals will be televised live on Tennis Channel and live streamed on http://video.wtt.com.
FINAL RESULTS FROM THE EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH:
(Home teams in capital letters)
WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Boston Lobsters 23-15 (OT)
Mixed Doubles – Leander Paes\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac\Mashona Washington (Lobsters) 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Arina Rodionova\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Irina Falconi\Mashona Washington (Lobsters) 5-1
Men’s Doubles – Leander Paes\Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac\Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-2
Women’s Singles – Irina Falconi (Lobsters) def. Arina Rodionova (Kastles) 5-4
Men’s Singles – Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) def. Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) 5-3
Overtime – Men’s Singles – Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 1-0
Next Match: 7/23/2011
Western Conference Championship: Sacramento Capitals @ ST. LOUIS ACES, 5:00 PM (EDT)
For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.com
The Sacramento Capitals are the final team to qualify for the 2011 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO. The Capitals defeated the Springfield Lasers 21-17 on Thursday evening to qualify as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Sacramento will face off against the St. Louis Aces on Saturday, July 23 at 5p.m. ET at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.o
Three of the four playoff spots were decided on the final night of the 2011 regular season. The St. Louis Aces posted a 23-15 win over the Kansas City Explorers to earn the top seed in the West. The Boston Lobsters overpowered the Newport Beach Breakers 22-14 to advance to Charleston, where they will take on the Washington Kastles for the Eastern Conference title.
Washington completed only the second undefeated regular season in WTT’s 36-year history with a 25-11 win over Philadelphia Freedoms on Thursday. The only other team to finish 14-0 during the regular season was the 1994 Newport Beach Dukes.
For more information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visit www.WTT.com/Finals.
SCHEDULE: 2011 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO
July 22-24 – Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
Friday, July 22 – 7 p.m.: Eastern Conference Championship - #1 Washington Kastles (14-0) vs. #2 Boston Lobsters (7-7) — Live Video Streaming on http://video.wtt.com
Saturday, July 23 – 5 p.m.: Western Conference Championship — #1 St. Louis Aces (8-6) vs. #2 Sacramento Capitals (8-6)
Sunday, July 24 – 5 p.m.: WTT Finals – Eastern Conference Champion vs. Western Conference Champion — LIVE Broadcast on Tennis Channel // Live Video Streaming on http://video.wtt.com
World TeamTennis Pro League presented by GEICO – Results for Thursday, 7/21
(Home teams in capital letters)
FINAL RESULTS – All matches complete:
WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Philadelphia Freedoms 25-11
Mixed Doubles – Leander Paes\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Liga Dekmeijere\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 5-2
Women’s Doubles – Arina Rodionova\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Liga Dekmeijere\Beatrice Capra (Freedoms) 5-1
Men’s Doubles – Leander Paes\Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Nathan Healey\Brendan Evans (Freedoms) 5-3
Women’s Singles – Arina Rodionova (Kastles) def. Beatrice Capra (Freedoms) 5-3
Men’s Singles – Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Brendan Evans (Freedoms) 5-2
ST LOUIS ACES def. Kansas City Explorers 23-15
Men’s Singles – Mark Philippoussis (Aces) def. Alex Kuznetsov (Explorers) 5-2
Women’s Singles – Varvara Lepchenko (Aces) def. Jarmila Gajdosova (Explorers) 5-3
Men’s Doubles – Alex Kuznetsov\Ricardo Mello (Explorers) def. Mark Philippoussis\Jean-Julien Rojer (Aces) 5-3
Women’s Doubles – Liezel Huber\Varvara Lepchenko (Aces) def. Jarmila Gajdosova\Kveta Peschke (Explorers) 5-3
Mixed Doubles – Liezel Huber\Jean-Julien Rojer (Aces) def. Alex Kuznetsov\Jarmila Gajdosova (Explorers) 5-2
Boston Lobsters def. NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS 22-14
Men’s Singles – Lester Cook (Breakers) def. Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-2
Men’s Doubles – Jan-Michael Gambill\Eric Butorac (Lobsters) def. Lester Cook\Travis Rettenmaier (Breakers) 5-2
Mixed Doubles – Eric Butorac\Coco Vandeweghe (Lobsters) def. Travis Rettenmaier\Marie-Eve Pelletier (Breakers) 5-3
Women’s Doubles – Mashona Washington\Coco Vandeweghe (Lobsters) def. Marie-Eve Pelletier\Anne Keothavong (Breakers) 5-1
Women’s Singles – Coco Vandeweghe (Lobsters) def. Anne Keothavong (Breakers) 5-3
SACRAMENTO CAPITALS def. Springfield Lasers 21-17
Men’s Singles – Dusan Vemic (Capitals) def. Greg A Jones (Lasers) 5-4
Women’s Doubles – Vania King\Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Carly Gullickson\Lilia Osterloh (Lasers) 5-0
Men’s Doubles – Greg A Jones\Rik De Voest (Lasers) def. Mark Knowles\Dusan Vemic (Capitals) 5-4
Women’s Singles – Lilia Osterloh (Lasers) def. Vania King (Capitals) 5-2
Mixed Doubles – Vania King\Mark Knowles (Capitals) def. Carly Gullickson\Rik De Voest (Lasers) 5-3
Eastern Conference MP W L PCT MB
y – Washington Kastles 14 14 0 1.000 –
x – Boston Lobsters 14 7 7 0.500 7
New York Sportimes 14 7 7 0.500 7
Philadelphia Freedoms 14 3 11 0.214 11
Western Conference MP W L PCT MB
y – St Louis Aces 14 8 6 0.571 –
x – Sacramento Capitals 14 8 6 0.571 –
Kansas City Explorers 14 8 6 0.571 –
Newport Beach Breakers 14 4 10 0.286 4
Springfield Lasers 14 4 10 0.286 4
x = Clinched playoff spot
y = Clinched #1 seed for Conference Championship
Next Matches: 7/22/2011
Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Lobsters @ WASHINGTON KASTLES, 7:00 PM (EDT) at Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.com
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
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.
*Former French Open Champion Carlos Moya has become the latest star to announce their retirement, this time due to persistent foot injuries. “It’s not how I dreamt of ending,” said the former world No. 1 and Australian Open finalist. He also helped Spain win the Davis Cup in 2004 but recently things haven’t been so rosy. “I wanted to say goodbye at one of the big tournaments, the Grand Slams, but that dream wasn’t to be. I am still young for life but for sport, I am already knocking on a bit.”
*Sweden’s Robin Soderling is understandably beaming after picking up his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Paris last week but he was also praising of the man whose dream ended one step too short in the final for the second year running. Home favourite Gael Monfils tasted finals defeat for the second year running having lost to Novak Djokovic in 2009. “I know it’s difficult to lose two finals in a row in this city but Monfils played incredible tennis this week,” said the 26-year-old Soderling. “Of course, winning matches against a lot of good players this week gives me a lot of confidence. Playing in any Masters, when you play the top players of the world, every match can be a Grand Slam final. I think you need to believe in yourself and I think that can make a big change. I’m feeling really good right now.” Soderling is now at a career-high No. 4 in the world.
*The groups have been decided for the ATP World Tour Finals in London starting this weekend. Group A in the singles sees world No. 1 Rafa Nadal paired with Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Roddick. Roger Federer, Robin Soderling, Andy Murray and David Ferrer will contest Group B. In the doubles, the defending Champions the Bryan brothers contest Group A with Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes, Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski and Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner. Group B consists of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach, Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi and Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman.
*Pakistan’s Prime Minister has announced that Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi has been appointed as United Nations Development Project (UNDP) National Goodwill Ambassador. His first task is to help obtain global funds to go towards the victims of the devastating floods across the country which affected twenty million people. “I am honoured to become a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP in Pakistan,” says Qureshi. “I have been very fortunate in life to pursue my passion for tennis. It is important for me to help people who lost everything because of the floods to get back on their feet.” Full reaction can be seen at the ATP website.
*Roger Federer has targeted a strong finish to the year with victory at the ATP Tour Finals, a competition he has an enviable record of 29-7 at. Federer faced questions about the current state of his mind after squandering five match points during his semi final defeat to Gael Monfils in Paris but the world No. 2 is confident of his chances in London. “I think I have good chances maybe in London for winning,” declared the sixteen-time Grand Slam winner. “I feel good physically. In a way it is a relief that I was able to finish the tournament [in Paris-Bercy] in good physical health. I’m fresh mentally, too. This is the most important thing. Victories are important, but when you’re not fit and when you’re injured, it’s bad. So I think I’m going to recover quite fast after that loss. I feel good. I’m playing well. It was not a bad match [against Monfils]. I’m happy with my performance. Clearly with a victory I would have had big chances of winning the tournament. This is not the case, so now I have to look at the future. I’m going to prepare for London.” The full interview can be seen at the ATP site.
*Czech star Tomas Berdych has said that it was the increased burden of expectation following his Wimbledon finals appearance this year which contributed to his average results over the past few months. “In the past, I entered many matches in the position of a mere challenger, but after Wimbledon, everything changed,” he told the Prague Post. “My opponents became the challengers and were keen on taking the scalp of a top-10 player. Every game was much more difficult for me… [in London] I’ll try to pick up my game and to prove that I did not qualify by accident.”
*The Bryan brothers have announced that they will return to Houston in 2011 to defend their back to back US Men’s Clay Court Championships doubles titles.
*Li Na has taken Gold for China at the Asia Games, defeating Taiwan’s Chan Yung Jan 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
*Venus Williams has said she hopes to be fit in time for the Australian Open. The 30-year-old has been nursing yet another knee injury since her US Open defeat to Kim Clijsters but told AOL Fanbase: “I’m gearing up for Australia. Playing professional tennis is very intense. You have to be as close to 100 percent as possible. So I’m aiming to be 100 percent by January.”
*In the South African Airways ATP World Rankings Robin Soderling has benefitted from his Paris Masters victory by becoming the new world No. 4 at the expense of Andy Murray. Jurgen Melzer, Gael Monfils, Marin Cilic, Nicolas Almagro, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and Marcos Baghdatis all climb within the Top 20. Russian Nikolay Davydenko drops 11 places to No. 22 while Michael Llodra jumps 11 to No. 23. The Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov enters the Top 50 and Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko, Germany’s Dustin Brown and Brazil’s Marcos Daniel enter the Top 100.
*The Bondarenko sisters have announced that they will immediately cease representing Ukraine in Fed Cup play. Kateryna has described the move as a “mutual decision” between themselves and Ukrainian tennis authorities. The door has been left open for a future return.
*Tennis Hall of Famer Dennis Ralston has been talking to The Desert Sun about his life since the amputation of his foot back in June due to infection. It’s a touching story, which can be read on their website. “The situation was bleak, not knowing if I would work again,” Ralston said. “I still don’t know, but I hope I still can.”
*After her engagement to lawyer Andreas Bieri broke down back in April, Martina Hingis has announced that she is “…not single anymore.” She is said to be dating fellow horse-riding enthusiast Thibault Hutin.
*Danish star Caroline Wozniacki is only one win away from taking the No. 1 slot in the Sony Ericsson WTA World Rankings following her opening win over Sara Errani at the China Open. Victory over Petra Kvitova in the quaterfinals will see her climb above Serena Williams. If she does she will be the 20th player ever to do so since the rankings began.
*British No. 3 Anne Keothavong has had her preparations for the AEGON GB Pro-Series Open tournament in Barnstaple, England, hampered after suffering racial abuse outside her hotel on the weekend. Police have said: “Three men aged 20, 23, 25 have been arrested for this offence and for a separate shoplifting incident. They remain in police custody waiting to be interviewed. Police investigations continue.” Keothavong wrote on her Twitter account: “I was on my own and completely outnumbered. Gave a statement to the police, hoping CCTV will get them.” She won the tournament in 2008.
*Leander Paes has accepted an offer from the Cambodian Tennis Association to become the spokesperson for their “Killing Fields to Tennis Courts” campaign which aims to clear many of the minefields planted by the former Khmer Rouge regime and make large areas safer for children. These areas will be used for modified tennis courts enabling those disabled by the mines to play. “What attracted me to this foundation is that I can help bring landmine awareness to the tennis industry,” said Paes. “Though the genocide in Cambodia has been over for many years, the results of millions of landmines planted by the Khmer Rouge continue to be an everyday danger for the Cambodian people. And for those victims of landmines, it is now my mission to share this great sport of tennis with them. Through tennis, I can hopefully inspire children and coaches to dare to dream and that hard work and persistence you can overcome many of life’s obstacles.” For the full interview check out the ATP website.
*Former Thai tennis star Paradorn Srichapan was honoured in a special retirement ceremony at the end of his hometown tournament, the PTT Thailand Open, in Bangkok on Sunday. He reached the semifinals there three times and got to No. 9 in the world before playing his final match last year in his hometown. “I’d like to thank all the ATP staff,” said Srichaphan at the ceremony. “From the very first time I entered the ATP, it was like a second home to me. It meant that every year when I was travelling on the Tour for eight or nine months I was able to not miss home too much. Thank you for everything.” Since hanging up his racquet Paradorn has been starring in Thai movies.
*Svetlana Kuznetsova has called time on her 2010 season by pulling out of next week’s tournament in Moscow. Writing on her Twitter account she said: “my health issues won’t al[low] me to play in my home country tournament in Moscow! I have to end this difficult season now and recover.” She has also attributed her early exit from this week’s Beijing meeting to illness which prevented her from preparing. “I got sick,” she told the WTA website. “From Sunday to Saturday, one week, I wasn’t home, I didn’t go out, I didn’t do any fitness, I was in bed. I didn’t have time, but that’s how it is.”
*Russian Nikolay Davydenko overcame Marin Cilic 7-5, 7-5 at the China Open to record the 400th ATP win of his career. He is the eighth active player on the tour to do so. “It was a very good match for me,” said Davydenko. “[My] baseline [play] was good control and I played fast.”
*Venus Williams today (October 6) released a statement saying that she would not be competing for the remainder of 2010 due to a recurrence of her troublesome knee problems that have dogged a large chunk of her season. She will miss the WTA Finals in Doha as well as the USA’s Fed Cup Final matchup with Italy. The statement, released to the Associated Press, said: “ [I am] very disappointed to announce that I will be unable to play in the WTA Tour Championships at the end of October, and the Fed Cup final between the United States and Italy at San Diego in November. I have been getting treatment and therapy on my knee and have been making progress, but unfortunately must continue to keep weight off my knee for the short term and won’t be ready to return to competition in 2010. I am looking forward to returning to full health in time for the start of 2011 season and hopefully having the opportunity to play in both the Fed Cup and WTA Championships next year.”
*Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska has also ended her season due to a stress fracture in her foot and says she is also a doubt for next year’s Australian Open. “I’m done for this year with a very serious injury, a stress fracture,” said Radwanska. It’s a complicated injury and there’s some chance it won’t be healed in time for Australia. I just realized how serious the injury was just before I came to Asia to play in Tokyo and Beijing.”
*Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters have joined both Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva in qualifying for the season-ending WTA Championships in Doha. This leaves only four qualifying berths for the remaining hopefuls to fight over.
*Malaysian tennis fans are in for an extra special treat as the Showdown of Champions 2010 rolls in to Kuala Lumpur this week. Former tennis superstars Ivan Lendl and Goran Ivanisevic will commence battle against Pat Cash, Mats Wilander and Martina Hingis in the Asian paradise. Lendl has eight Grand Slams to his name while Ivanisevic will be most fondly remembered as being the only male wildcard to lift the Wimbledon Championships. Tickets are still available from www.fatdeal.com.my for an event which really cannot be missed.
*Following his title win last week Mikhail Youzhny is the new world No. 8 in this week’s South African Airways ATP World Rankings. His current form should see him make a late push for the ATP Finals in London next month. He climbs above Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez leaps 14 places to No. 39 while Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen sees a return for his recent form by climbing twelve to No. 48. Russia’s Igor Andreev is back in the world’s Top 100 at No. 85.
*There are changes too in the Sony Ericsson WTA world rankings where Italy’s Francesca Schiavone is the new world No. 6, giving the French Open winner pole position to qualify for Doha. The Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka is also putting her US Open horror behind her and she is back in to the world’s Top 10. Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska drops out. Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer climbs a place to enter the Top 20 while Maria Sharapova drops from No. 15 to No. 21. Olga Govortsova continues her recent rise by entering the Top 50 at No. 48 and there are no fewer than six climbers in to the Top 100.
*Juan Martin del Potro certainly isn’t panicking despite a so-far winless return from a long injury layoff. “I need time, I need to work on a few things to get back to my best level,” he said. “If work in a good way, I will be in good shape in a month or so.”
*Great news for the Shanghai Masters set to begin next week; every player within the world’s Top 20 is set to compete.
*Belgian Christophe Rochus has said he will retire at the end of the season following tournaments in Mons (Belgium) and Valencia. “I don’t have the capacity to aim for a place in the top 100,” he said. “To play to be 200th in the world rankings doesn’t interest me.”
*To finish off this week, how about something a little different? Head over to YouTube to see Jelena Jankovic, Flavia Penetta and Gisela Dulko take part in a Ninja demonstration at the Players Party for the Toray Pan Pacific Open. It’s certainly not like anything you’d usually associate the three with, but perhaps they might want to stick to the tennis.