American stars dominate WTT player draft
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The 2012 World TeamTennis Marquee Draft has an All-American look.
Six current or former world No. 1s from the U.S., including Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Bob and Mike Bryan, Lindsay Davenport and John McEnroe, were among the names drafted today by the eight franchises in the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO.
Other top names selected in today’s Draft include the top ranked American on the ATP Tour Mardy Fish, along with Martina Hingis, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, and John Isner who stunned the tennis world with a dominating win over Roger Federer last weekend in Davis Cup action.
Two-time League MVP Lindsay Davenport returns to the WTT courts for the first time this summer since the birth of her third child in January. Davenport, an Olympic gold medalist and three-time Grand Slam singles champion, will head up the Orange County Breakers team. “I am excited to be back in Orange County and it will be great for my kids to get to see me play,” said Davenport. “I have always loved playing on a team so I am looking forward to getting back on the court.”
The Philadelphia Freedoms selected former world No. 8 Mark Philippoussis with their first round selection. The popular Australian originally played for the Freedoms in 2002. Philippoussis will be joined on the Freedoms squad by former world No. 4 James Blake. This will be Blake’s 7th WTT season and his first with the Freedoms.
The Washington Kastles will try to build on their undefeated 2011 championship season with the all-American lineup of Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
The Boston Lobsters are bringing back one of the hottest ATP stars in the towering John Isner, who defeated Federer and led the U.S. Davis Cup team to a stunning 5-0 win over Switzerland last weekend.
Two former world number ones in both singles and doubles return to the New York Sportimes. John McEnroe and Martina Hingis are back with the Sportimes at their home venue in Randall’s Island, which is also home to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. 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 John Isner and his Boston Lobsters, while the other match will see Hingis face off against Venus Williams and the Washington Kastles.
The Sacramento Capitals will build their 2012 squad around America’s top ranked male player, Mardy Fish. Currently ranked No. 8 on the ATP Tour in singles, Fish was also a major part of the U.S. Davis Cup team that dominated the Swiss last week.
The WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which was co-founded by Billie Jean King, is a professional sports league featuring three generations of tennis stars playing in a coed team format. The 2012 WTT Pro League begins July 9 and runs through July 29. The top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conference advance to the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, Sept. 14-16, at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
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 13. 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)
PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Mark Philippoussis (1st round draft selection), James Blake (2nd round draft selection)
SPRINGFIELD LASERS: no selection
ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS: Lindsay Davenport (1st round draft selection)
NEW YORK SPORTIMES: John McEnroe (1st round protection), Martina Hingis (3rd round protection)
KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Bob and Mike Bryan (1st round protection)
BOSTON LOBSTERS: John Isner (2nd round protection)
SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Mardy Fish (1st round protection)
WASHINGTON KASTLES: Serena Williams (1st round protection), Venus Williams (2nd round protection)
Marquee Player Matches (dates TBD when schedule is released in early March; additional visits could be added before season):
BOSTON LOBSTERS: John Isner (1 home match).
NEW YORK SPORTIMES: John McEnroe (home matches TBD); Martina Hingis (all home matches; road matches TBD). Visiting players are Venus Williams (Washington Kastles) and John Isner (Boston Lobsters). Williams and Isner will both play their matches in Albany, N.Y.
ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS: Lindsay Davenport (all home matches; road matches TBD). Visiting player is Mark Philippoussis (Philadelphia Freedoms).
PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Mark Philippoussis (1 home match); James Blake (1 home match). Visiting players are the Bryan Brothers (Kansas City Explorers).
SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Mardy Fish (2 home matches). Visiting players are Lindsay Davenport (Orange County Breakers); Mark Philippoussis (Philadelphia Freedoms).
WASHINGTON KASTLES: Serena Williams (1 home match); Venus Williams (1 home match). Visiting player is Martina Hingis (New York Sportimes) - subject to scheduling.
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