Top Players Highlight WTT Pro League Draft
NEW YORK, N.Y. — It won’t be difficult to find a player in the World TeamTennis Pro League presented by GEICO this summer who has spent time at the top of the world rankings. Ten current or former world No. 1 players highlighted the 2011 World TeamTennis Marquee Draft held this afternoon. World No. 1 Kim Clijsters and the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, who all recently won titles at the 2011 Australian Open, are returning to the League in 2011. Clijsters will return to the New York Sportimes lineup while the Bryan Brothers will play for the defending WTT Champion Kansas City Explorers for the 7th consecutive season. The WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, co-founded by Billie Jean King, is a professional sports league featuring three generations of tennis stars playing in a coed team format. The 2011 WTT Pro League begins July 4, concluding with the WTT Finals on July 24. With more than 765 professional tour singles and doubles titles among them, including 122 Grand Slam championships and six Olympic gold medals, the marquee player field for the 2011 season is an all-star lineup. Tennis legend Pete Sampras returns to the WTT Pro League for the first time since 2007 after the Newport Beach Breakers picked up the 14-time Grand Slam singles champion with the overall number one selection. A quartet of current U.S. stars was selected during today’s draft. The Philadelphia Freedoms drafted Melanie Oudin with their first pick, the second overall selection in the Draft. This will be the first season of World TeamTennis action for Oudin. Mardy Fish is heading west to the Sacramento Capitals, John Isner returns to the Boston Lobsters and the Washington Kastles drafted Sam Querrey. Joining Querrey on the Kastles roster are two former World No. 1 players, Serena Williams and Venus Williams, while Isner’s Boston teammate will be James Blake. Martina Hingis, a former world No. 1 in singles and doubles, returns to the New York Sportimes to once again play for the team she helped lead to the WTT title in 2005. Hingis spent the 2010 season with the Albany-based New York Buzz, who consolidated with the Sportimes on Monday. Hingis will join Clijsters and team captain John McEnroe on the star-studded Sportimes roster. The Sportimes will play five home matches at Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island in New York City, and will bring two of their home matches to SEFCU Arena in Albany, N.Y., during the WTT season this July. One of the matches in Albany will feature Clijsters, and the other will showcase the Bryans and their Explorers’ teammates taking on the Sportimes. St. Louis selected a trio of popular players, bringing back 2010 WTT Female MVP Lindsay Davenport and Anna Kournikova, and adding Australian star Mark Philippoussis to the lineup for his first WTT season. Dates for the Marquee Player appearances will be announced when the League schedule is released in March. Team lineups will be finalized at the WTT Roster Draft on March 15. Marquee players typically play a limited schedule while roster players play the full season. Additional marquee players could be added prior to the start of the season.
WTT Pro League Marquee Player Draft Selections (in Draft order) NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: Pete Sampras PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Melanie Oudin SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Mardy Fish ST. LOUIS ACES: Lindsay Davenport (1st round protection), Anna Kournikova (2nd round protection), Mark Philippoussis (selected in 3rd round) WASHINGTON KASTLES: Serena Williams (1st round protection), Venus Williams (2nd round protection), Sam Querrey (selected in first round via trade with Springfield Lasers for draft order and consideration). BOSTON LOBSTERS: James Blake (1st round protection), John Isner (2nd round protection) SPRINGFIELD LASERS: No selection (traded draft position to Washington for visit pick and consideration) NEW YORK SPORTIMES: John McEnroe (1st round protection), Kim Clijsters (2nd round selection), Martina Hingis (3rd round draft selection) KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Bob and Mike Bryan (1st round protection) Marquee Player Matches (dates TBD when schedule is released in early March): BOSTON LOBSTERS: James Blake and John Isner (1 home match each). Visiting players are Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces); Melanie Oudin (Philadelphia Freedoms) and Mark Philippoussis (St. Louis Aces) KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Bob and Mike Bryan (2 home matches). Visiting player is Mark Philippoussis (St. Louis Aces). NEW YORK SPORTIMES: John McEnroe (2 home matches); Kim Clijsters (1 home match in NYC and 1 home match in Albany); Martina Hingis (matches TBD). Visiting players are Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces) and the Bryan Brothers (Kansas City Explorers). The Bryans will play their match in Albany. NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: Pete Sampras (1 home match). Visiting players are Sam Querrey (Washington Kastles) and the Bryan Brothers (Kansas City Explorers). PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Melanie Oudin (1 home match). Visiting players are Venus Williams (Washington Kastles); John McEnroe (New York Sportimes) and the Bryan Brothers (Kansas City Explorers). SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Mardy Fish (1 home match). Visiting player is Serena Williams (Washington Kastles). SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Visiting player is Melanie Oudin (Philadelphia Freedoms). ST. LOUIS ACES: Lindsay Davenport (# of matches home/road TBD), Anna Kournikova (1 home match) and Mark Philippoussis (1 home match). WASHINGTON KASTLES: Serena Williams (1 home match); Venus Williams (1 home match) and Sam Querrey (match TBD). Visiting players are John McEnroe (New York Sportimes) and Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces).
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