Mylan WTT

Washington Kastles Fall to Andy Roddick-Led Springfield Lasers

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

Washington Kastles Win 34th Straight Match, Establish New Unbeaten Pro-sports Record

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.

The sets:
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

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