Orlando

Las Vegas, Orlando Are New World TeamTennis Franchises

World TeamTennis is growing to a league of eight teams for its upcoming 44th season after the league announced expansion franchises in Las Vegas and Orlando will begin play in July.

WTT jointly announced its 59-match regular season – seven home matches and seven away matches for each team – in 2019 will run from July 14-31. The 2019 WTT playoffs, to be hosted by Orleans Arena (at the Orleans Hotel and Casino) in Las Vegas, begin with the league’s semifinals on Aug. 2 and conclude with the WTT Finals on Aug. 3. To view the entire 2019 day-by-day schedule, click HERE.

“The addition of two new franchises in Las Vegas and Orlando signifies the continued growth of World TeamTennis and the embracement of the league’s exciting fan-friendly team format,” WTT CEO Carlos Silva said. “We look forward to many of the top players in the world creating new rivalries, and renewing old ones, as they compete for the King Trophy during the 2019 season.”

Orlando’s team name will be the Orlando Storm and it will play its home matches at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla. The Orlando Storm will be coached by Scott Lipsky – a 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion and winner of 16 ATP doubles titles – with Jocelyn Davie serving as the General Manager.

Las Vegas’ team will be known as the Vegas Rollers, and it has secured the Orleans Arena as its home venue. The Vegas Rollers will be coached by Tim Blenkiron – a 1997 NCAA Division I Doubles national champion at UNLV and coach for WTA player Asia Muhammad – with Sally Dewhurst serving as the General Manager.

Orlando and Vegas will begin to fill out their squads at the WTT Draft on March 12 in Indian Wells, Calif.

“The addition of two new teams in two strong markets is a positive move for WTT for 2019 and for the future,” WTT co-founder Billie Jean King said. “This expansion is not only good for the league, it also is another indication of the importance of bringing our brand of tennis to new audiences and our commitment to growing the sport at all levels.”

WTT introduced professional team tennis to the world in 1974, with Billie Jean King famously serving as its co-founder. The new teams in Orlando and Las Vegas join the league’s existing franchises – New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers and Washington Kastles – for play in July 2019.

Among the notable 2019 WTT season-opening matches on July 14, Springfield will open up defense of its 2018 WTT title at home against Philadelphia in a rematch of the 2018 WTT Finals, while Orlando and Vegas play each other in Lake Nona, Fla.

Among the schedule highlights in the 2019 WTT season are the following marquee and rival matchups:

 Springfield Lasers and Philadelphia Freedoms play each other at Springfield (Missouri) July 14 and at Philadelphia later in the month in a pair of 2018 WTT Finals rematches.
 Expansion teams Orlando Storm and Vegas Rollers square off at Orlando on July 14 and at Vegas on July 30.
 New York Empire and Washington Kastles play a home-and-home series on the consecutive nights – at New York July 19 and at Washington on July 20.
 2017 WTT Finals foes Orange County Breakers and San Diego Aviators continue their Southern California rivalry in Newport Beach, Calif. on July 20 and in Carlsbad, Calif. on July 26.
 Orange County Breakers and Springfield Lasers – WTT’s last two champions – face off in Newport Beach on July 22 and at Springfield July 30.

WTT completed its 2018 season on Aug. 5 as the Springfield Lasers, WTT’s longest-running franchise, defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms in the WTT Finals at Drexel University in Philadelphia to capture the King Trophy and its first WTT championship in its 23-year history.

In 2018, each of WTT’s teams incorporated select tennis stars from the ATP and WTA tours – including seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and 13-year WTT veteran Venus Williams, 2019 Australian Open and 2018 U.S. Open women’s singles champion Naomi Osaka, 2017 U.S. Open women’s champion Sloane Stephens, and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the most decorated doubles team in tennis history.

WTT is one of five active U.S. pro sports leagues which has been in operation for over 40 years, along with the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. For more information on World TeamTennis, please visit www.wtt.com.

About “World TeamTennis” (WTT)
World TeamTennis showcases the best in professional tennis with the innovative team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. Recognized as the leader in professional team tennis competition, WTT features many of the world’s best players competing annually for the King Trophy, the League’s championship trophy named after King. Since the League’s debut, virtually every major champion of the Open era has played WTT, including Andre Agassi, Venus and Serena Williams, Pete Sampras, Stefanie Graf, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Bob and Mike Bryan, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Naomi Osaka. Owned by innovator Fred Luddy, entrepreneur Eric Davidson and tennis icon Billie Jean King, WTT’s 44th season plays from July 14 to July 31, with the league semifinals set for Aug. 2 and the finals Aug. 3. Learn more about the history and league champions of World TeamTennis on the history page.

USTA National Campus In Orlando To Host Wild Card Event For Mardy Fish USTA Pro Circuit Futures Event

The USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida, just outside of Orlando, will host the second of two wild card singles events for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event, Monday, April 9 through Wednesday, April 11.

The winner of the event will be awarded a main draw singles wild card, or direct entry, into the 2018 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships USTA Pro Circuit “Futures” tournament to be played April 24-29 at Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach.

Entry fees, that benefit the non-profit Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, are $65 for the wild card event and are open to all competitive players. More information can be found on TennisLink here: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=220023#&&s=1 The entry deadline is Wednesday, April 4.

Matches, played on clay courts, will be best-two-out-of-three sets and will be played in the late afternoon and early evening. Earlier this month, 17-year-old Matthew Segura of Apopka, Fla., won the first wild card singles tournament for the Mardy Fish Futures, defeating Jack Vance of Las Vegas, Nevada. In the final played at the Sea Oaks Tennis & Beach Club in Vero Beach.

A special doubles wild card tournament will also be held April 21-23 in Vero Beach at the same time as the singles qualifying tournament that starts April 20. The event is open to all players and entries for $60 per team and are being accepted now by emailing Randy Walker at [email protected]

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, 2017 Australian Open star Tennys Sandgren and up-and-coming ATP star Denis Shapovalov among others. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Six former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.

Tournament tickets and sponsorships are now on sale and can be purchased at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com Tickets for the qualifying rounds from April 20 – April 23 cost $10, while tickets for the main draw of singles and doubles from April 24 – 29 are $20, with “night session” tickets starting at 5 pm from April 24-27 costing $10. Season tickets that include both the qualifying and main draw events cost $100. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Detailed sponsorship information can be obtained by emailing Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected]

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 1700 children grades KDG-8th in Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, collaborates with various community organizations, including Boys and Girls Club of Indian River County, Dasie Hope Bridgewater Center and LOTA Sports. Kids on Courts After School Tennis program is facilitated by LOTA Sports offering progressive tennis instruction from world class professionals. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends. Fish achieved a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2011 and won 14 career ATP singles and doubles titles in his career. After retiring from the ATP World Tour in 2015, Fish now competes on the celebrity pro golf tour and the PowerShares Series legends tennis tour while serving as a coach for the USTA Player Development Program and a TV commentator for ESPN.

USTA Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Of USTA National Campus In Orlando

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today commemorated the one-year anniversary of the USTA National Campus, which officially opened on January 2, 2017, in Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., as the new “Home of American Tennis.”  In its inaugural year, nearly 200,000 players visited the groundbreaking facility, with more than 100 international, national and local tournaments held throughout the year. The USTA National Campus, featuring 100 courts over 64 acres, is open to the public and serves the entire spectrum of the tennis community, including youth players, recreational players, collegiate athletes and future and current professional tour level players.

“The USTA National Campus has truly exceeded our expectations and delivered on our vision,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “The facility was built to elevate industry standards and expand opportunities. We are excited to see how it will continually thrive and support the next generation of players and providers.”

Today’s one-year celebration included tennis icons Jim Courier and Gigi Fernandez, joined by the City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Gordon Smith, state and regional partners, as well as ESPN’s Chris McKendry, serving as emcee.

In addition to serving as a premier destination for tennis players and fans from throughout the country and the across the globe, the USTA National Campus has become a cornerstone of activity for residents in Central Florida through local programs, lessons and camps.

“Not only has USTA’s National Campus, state-of-the-art facility become the anchor of Lake Nona’s emerging ‘Sports and Performance District’ but it has bolstered Orlando’s position as a global magnet for sports, health and wellness innovation,” said Mayor Buddy Dyer. “I am proud to say that in one year, this campus has set the national standard for player development and community tennis.”

In its first year, the facility has provided and hosted a broad range of events, tournaments, training and programs to create memorable experiences for players of all ages and abilities. Highlights include:

  • Nearly 200,000 players and visitors
  • More than 100 international, national, regional and local events
  • More than 600 current and aspiring American professional tennis players have trained at the USTA National Campus
  • Participants from more than 50 countries
  • More than 500 children participate each week in tennis programming
  • Nearly 150,000 court hours were reserved
  • More than 17,000 tournament participants
  • 540 Pro Circuit matches held
  • Selected as the host site of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships in 2019 and 2021, as well as the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships in 2022
  • Hosted more than 300 universities and colleges
  • Nearly 6,000 fans attended the six College MatchDay events
  • Home of the University of Central Florida’s Men’s and Women’s Varsity Tennis Program

The USTA National Campus focuses on the complete player pathway – housing the USTA’s Player Development, Pro Circuit, Team Events, Collegiate Tennis, USTA-U and Community Tennis divisions. The facility has enabled the USTA to host a wide variety of events, including national junior championships, adult league championships, buddy-up programs, veterans programs, wheelchair events, professional tournaments, collegiate conference championships, the ITF Super Seniors world championship, junior and adult sectional championships, Junior Team Tennis championships and many others.

The state-of-the-art adidas Performance Center has made it possible to fully implement USTA Player Development’s “Team USA” philosophy of collaboration, inclusion and support of aspiring American players and their coaches. Throughout the year, current and former legendary pros that have trained, coached, visited and played at the facility include Madison Keys, CiCi Bellis, Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jennifer Brady, Chris Evert, Jim Courier, James Blake, the Bryan Brothers, Ivan Lendl and many others.

Additionally, the facility has become an epicenter of innovation allowing opportunities for the testing of new and emerging technologies. By incorporating the latest technologies and equipment to assist with coaching education, advanced training techniques and improved athletic performance, the USTA National Campus has become a testing ground for new technologies to improve play and the player experience.

The USTA National Campus has redefined how the USTA delivers on its mission and provides a new vision for the future of tennis in the U.S. For more information, please visit ustanationalcampus.com.