|Current season or competition:|
2019 World TeamTennis season
|No. of teams||8|
|Most recent champion(s)||Springfield Lasers|
|Most titles||Sacramento Capitals (6)|
Washington Kastles (6)
CBS Sports Network
Originally played on a no-line court, each match consists of five sets. Each set features a different configuration (men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles). Prior to each match, coaches decide the order in which the sets will be played. Each player on a team usually plays in at least one of the five sets. Scoring is no-advantage; there is no requirement to win a game by two scores; at deuce, whoever scores the next point wins the game. The first team to reach five games wins each set. A nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches four-all. One point is awarded for each game won. If necessary, extended play and a supertiebreaker are played to determine the winner of the match.
History[edit | edit source]
First league[edit | edit source]
World Team Tennis (WTT) was founded in 1973 by Dennis Murphy, Dick Butera, Fred Barman, Jordan Kaiser, and attorney and promoter Larry King, each of whom organized and owned the various participating teams of the fledgling professional tennis league. Murphy had previously founded the World Hockey Association, and gave a number of WHA club owners preferential options on WTT franchises.
Charles "Chuck" Reichblum (now popularly known as "Dr. Knowledge"), industrialist John H. Hillman III, and lawyer William "Bill" Sutton, who became the owners of the Pittsburgh Triangles, had, in 1972, founded the similar National Tennis League (NTL), a forerunner to WTT and Reichblum's brainchild. Founding members of WTT were reported to have been invited to join the NTL prior to formation of the competing WTT in 1973.
The WTT was organized and started by Billie Jean King securing the professional women tennis players, and Dr. Leonard Bloom, along with Arthur Ashe and Wilt Chamberlain, securing the professional men players..
The league began play in May 1974, with George MacCall as Commissioner of the 16 teams: Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo-Toronto, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Florida (Miami), San Diego/Hawaii, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota (Minneapolis-St.Paul), New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.
The original league format included a four-colored tennis court, a 44-contest season, and teams of at least two men and two women. A match consisted of the first player or team to win five games, with a nine-point tiebreaker at four-all, and no-ad scoring in women's singles and doubles, men's singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. This made WTT the first professional sports league to grant equal status to each man and woman competing for their teams.
WTT also held annual All-Star games for the seasons from 1975 to 1978. Marty Riessen (Cleveland) and Greer Stevens (Boston) won Most Valuable Players (MVP) honors for the inaugural all-star gala won by the East, 28–21, at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles. In 1976 the West All-Stars, led by Chris Evert and Betty Stöve, capped an incredible comeback when they defeated Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong in a super tiebreaker, 5–4, giving the West a stunning 28–27 overtime victory at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. After trailing at one stage by 24–17, the West, led by Stove and Dianne Fromholtz, won the final set plus two games in overtime to draw the West All-Stars even at 27. Tom Okker (San Francisco) and Dianne Fromholtz (Los Angeles) won MVP honors that year. In the 1977 All Star Game held at the San Diego Sports Arena, Björn Borg (Cleveland-Pittsburgh) and Betty Stove (Seattle-Portland) captured MVP awards as the East bested the West, 23–18. WTT held its final All-Star event in Las Vegas in 1978.
WTT was the first professional sports experience for Jerry Buss (eventual owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings), and for Bob Kraft (eventual owner of the NFL's New England Patriots and MLS's New England Revolution).
The first league ended play in 1978.
Second league[edit | edit source]
The league resumed play in 1981 as TeamTennis and fluctuated between four and twelve teams. In 1992, the name was changed back to World TeamTennis (WTT). In 2005, twelve teams competed.
Billie Jean King became Commissioner and major owner of the league in 1984, following her retirement from tournament tennis competition. She retired as Commissioner in February 2001 and Ilana Kloss became the new commissioner, a position she still holds. In March 2017, King sold WTT to venture capitalist Mark Ein and founder of ServiceNow Fred Luddy.
In 2013, World TeamTennis was re-branded Mylan World TeamTennis after Mylan, a generics and specialty pharmaceuticals company, announced a three-year agreement to serve as the title sponsor of WTT.
Many top tennis players have participated in the league over the years, including King, Rod Laver, Björn Borg, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Evonne Goolagong, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis, John Isner, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Naomi Osaka, Frances Tiafoe and many more. Connors and Goolagong were not allowed to participate in the 1974 French Open due to their associations with WTT. Connors' exclusion from the French Open denied him the opportunity to become the first male player since Rod Laver to win all four Major singles titles in a calendar year.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1974–1978[edit | edit source]
- Boston Lobsters (1974)
- Chicago Aces (1974)
- Cincinnati (never played) / Cleveland Nets (1974–1976) / Cleveland-Pittsburgh Nets (1977) / New Orleans Sun Belt Nets (1978)
- Dallas (1979 expansion franchise – never played)
- Denver Racquets (1974) / Phoenix Racquets (1975–1978)
- Detroit Loves (1974) / Indiana Loves (1975–1978)
- Golden Gate Otters (never played) / San Francisco Golden Gaters (1974–1978)
- Houston E-Z Riders (1974)
- Los Angeles (1979 expansion franchise – never played)
- Los Angeles Strings (1974–1978)
- Minnesota Buckskins (1974)
- New York Sets (1974–1976) / New York Apples (1977–1978)
- Pennsylvania Keystones (never played) / Soviet National Team (1977, often simply called "The Soviets") / Anaheim Oranges (1978)
- Philadelphia Freedoms (1974) / Boston Lobsters (1975–1978)
- Phoenix (never played) / Baltimore Banners (1974)
- Pittsburgh Triangles (1974–1976)
- St. Louis (never played) / Florida Flamingos (1974)
- San Diego (1979 expansion franchise – never played)
- San Diego Friars (1975–1978)
- San Diego Swingers (never played) / Hawaii Leis (1974–1976) / Sea-Port Cascades (1977) / Seattle Cascades (1978)
- Toronto-Buffalo Royals (1974) / Hartford Royals (never played)
1981–1991[edit | edit source]
League play resumed in 1981 as TeamTennis with four California teams, expanding to eight teams in 1982. In 1985 a recreational league for non-professionals was added, which was co-branded with the professional league.
1992–1999[edit | edit source]
In 1992, the current name World TeamTennis was restored.
- Minnesota Penguins, 1993
- Idaho Sneakers, 1994–1997
- New Jersey Stars, 1987–1995 (relocated and became the Delaware Smash)
- Phoenix Smash, 1992–1994
2000–present[edit | edit source]
In 2000 the current logo was adopted. In 2005 & 2006 the league consisted of 12 teams and in 2007 the Hartford FoxForce ceased operations. Prior to the 2008 season, the Houston Wranglers ceased operations and the Washington Kastles joined the league. In the 2009 season, 10 teams competed: Boston, NY Buzz, NY Sportime, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Kansas City, Newport Beach, Sacramento, Springfield, and St. Louis. Sacramento won the year-end Championship six times.
Before the start of the 2011 season the New York Buzz and the New York Sportimes merged into one New York team, the Sportimes. During the 2011 season the Washington Kastles completed a perfect 16–0 schedule, winning their second championship in three seasons.
In 2012, the Washington Kastles completed their second consecutive perfect season, going 16–0 for the second season in a row to become the first professional sports franchise to go two complete seasons without a loss. Their 32-match winning streak is one shy of the major professional sports record of 33 consecutive wins set by the 1971–72 Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. They began the next season with 2 wins making their streak 34 games, setting the new record.
In 2013, World TeamTennis was renamed Mylan World TeamTennis after Mylan signed a three-year deal as the title sponsor. The Kansas City Explorers relocated to Irving, Texas, and became the Texas Wild. On November 21, 2013, the Orange County Breakers were sold, relocated to Austin, Texas and renamed the Austin Aces. On January 16, 2014, the New York Sportimes were sold, relocated to San Diego and renamed the San Diego Aviators. On February 4, 2014, the Sacramento Capitals were relocated to Las Vegas and renamed the Las Vegas Neon. On March 5, 2014 the Las Vegas Neon franchise was terminated, leaving the league with seven teams.
On January 13, 2016, WTT announced that the California Dream franchise had been terminated. On February 17, 2016, the Boston Lobsters had ceased operations and had been replaced with a new franchise called the New York Empire. On March 13, 2017, Billie Jean King announced the sale of her majority share in WTT to Mark Ein, Washington Kastles founder and owner and Fred Luddy, owner of the San Diego Aviators.
Teams[edit | edit source]
|New York Empire||New York City||Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning|
|Orange County Breakers||Newport Beach, California||Palisades Tennis Club|
|Orlando Storm||Orlando, Florida||USTA National Campus|
|Philadelphia Freedoms||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Michael J. Hagan Arena|
|San Diego Aviators||Carlsbad, California||Omni La Costa Resort and Spa|
|Springfield Lasers||Springfield, Missouri||Mediacom Stadium at Cooper Tennis Complex|
|Vegas Rollers||Paradise, Nevada||Orleans Arena|
|Washington Kastles||Washington, D.C.||Kastles Stadium at Union Market|
Finals[edit | edit source]
|1974||Denver Racquets||Philadelphia Freedoms||55–45|
|1975||Pittsburgh Triangles||San Francisco Golden Gaters||74–65|
|1976||New York Sets||San Francisco Golden Gaters||91–57|
|1977||New York Apples||Phoenix Racquets||55–39|
|1978||Los Angeles Strings||Boston Lobsters||108–93|
|1979–1980 no tournament|
|1981||Los Angeles Strings||regular season champion, no playoffs|
|1982||Dallas Stars||Phoenix Sunsets||27–22|
|1983||Chicago Fyre||Los Angeles Strings||26–20|
|1984||San Diego Buds||Long Beach Breakers||30–13|
|1985||San Diego Buds||St. Louis Slims||25–24|
|1986||San Antonio Racquets||Sacramento Capitals||25–23|
|1987||Charlotte Heat||San Antonio Racquets||25–20|
|1988||Charlotte Heat||New Jersey Stars||27–22|
|1989||San Antonio Racquets||Sacramento Capitols||27–25|
|1990||Los Angeles Strings||Raleigh Edge||27–16|
|1991||Atlanta Thunder||Los Angeles Strings||27–16|
|1992||Atlanta Thunder||Newport Beach Dukes||30–17|
|1993||Wichita Advantage||Newport Beach Dukes||26–23|
|1994||New Jersey Stars||Idaho Sneakers||28–25|
|1995||New Jersey Stars||Atlanta Thunder||28–20|
|1996||St. Louis Aces||Delaware Smash||27–16|
|1997||Sacramento Capitals||regular season champion, finals rained out|
|1998||Sacramento Capitals||New York OTBzz||30–13|
|1999||Sacramento Capitals||Springfield Lasers||23–15|
|2000||Sacramento Capitals||Delaware Smash||21–20|
|2001||Philadelphia Freedoms||Springfield Lasers||20–18|
|2002||Sacramento Capitals||New York Buzz||21–13|
|2003||Delaware Smash||Sacramento Capitals||21–14|
|2004||Newport Beach Breakers||Delaware Smash||23–17|
|2005||New York Sportimes||Newport Beach Breakers||21–18|
|2006||Philadelphia Freedoms||Newport Beach Breakers||21–14|
|2007||Sacramento Capitals||New York Buzz||24–20|
|2008||New York Buzz||Kansas City Explorers||21–18|
|2009||Washington Kastles||Springfield Lasers||23–20|
|2010||Kansas City Explorers||New York Sportimes||21–18|
|2011||Washington Kastles||St. Louis Aces||23–19|
|2012||Washington Kastles||Sacramento Capitals||20–19|
|2013||Washington Kastles||Springfield Lasers||25–12|
|2014||Washington Kastles||Springfield Lasers||25–13|
|2015||Washington Kastles||Austin Aces||24–18|
|2016||San Diego Aviators||Orange County Breakers||25–14|
|2017||Orange County Breakers||San Diego Aviators||22–18|
|2018||Springfield Lasers||Philadelphia Freedoms||19–18|
Multiple champions[edit | edit source]
|Sacramento Capitals||6||1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007|
|Washington Kastles||6||2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|Los Angeles Strings||3||1978, 1981, 1990|
|Atlanta Thunder||2||1991, 1992|
|Charlotte Heat||2||1987, 1988|
|New Jersey Stars||2||1994, 1995|
|Orange County Breakers||2||2004, 2017|
|Philadelphia Freedoms||2||2001, 2006|
|San Antonio Racquets||2||1986, 1989|
|San Diego Buds||2||1984, 1985|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Inline citations[edit | edit source]
- McCoy, Adrian "Person of interest: Charles Reichblum (Dr. Knowledge)", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 15, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- AP "Plans for Pro Tennis League", The Daily Times, Salisbury, Maryland, October 5, 1972, page 20. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- Shrum, Rick "Love Triangles: Pittsburgh adored its World Team Tennis franchise", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 10, 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- "World TeamTennis Firsts". World TeamTennis. http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=626. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
- "Chrissie Evert in 1976 World Team Tennis All-Stars Match". chrisevertdotnet (Youtube). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv6An2oT1E8. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- "Steve Dimitry's WTT Web Page". Steve Dimitry. http://www.oocities.org/colosseum/Arena/6925/wtt.html,. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- King, Billie Jean; Jett, Tyler (July 20, 2012). "Philadelphia Freedom: The Story behind the Song". Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer. http://articles.philly.com/2012-07-20/sports/32747948_1_elton-john-america-bench. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "World TeamTennis and Mylan Announce Three-Year Collaboration". www.wtt.com. October 16, 2012. http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=3463. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- "Sports People: Tennis – King Wants Navratilova to Finish Year". The New York Times. 1994-07-15. https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/15/sports/sports-people-tennis-king-wants-navratilova-to-finish-year.html.
- John Barrett, ed. (1975). World of Tennis '75. London: Queen Anne Press. pp. 15–17. ISBN 9780362002171.
- "Connors, Goolagong 'Can't Play'". The Palm Beach Post. May 22, 1974. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PsoqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6cwFAAAAIBAJ&dq=connors%20goolagong%20french%20tennis&pg=3375%2C4022177.
- "Struggling WTT Adds Three New Franchises". The San Bernardino County Sun: p. 65. December 1, 1978.
- "WTT:Virginia Wade". World TeamTennis. http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=1666. Retrieved 2009-12-17. References both "Sets" and "Apples".
- "New York Sportimes to Play Two WTT Matches in Albany This Summer As World Team Tennis' New York Teams Consolidate" http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=2411
- "Mylan World TeamTennis team relocates to Austin; Andy Roddick to star on team" http://www.austinacestennis.com/teams/article.aspx?article_id=4160
- "Mylan World TeamTennis team headed to San Diego" http://www.sandiegoaviators.com/teams/article.aspx?article_id=4247
- "Mylan World TeamTennis team relocates franchise to Las Vegas" http://www.lasvegasneontennis.com/teams/article.aspx?article_id=4290
- "League Statement on Las Vegas Franchise Termination" http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=4330
- "Mylan World TeamTennis Returns to Sacramento Area in 2015 with California Dream". February 23, 2015. http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=4749. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- "Sacramento pro tennis team folds". The Sacramento Bee. January 13, 2016. http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article54466255.html.
- "WTT Updates Status of Boston Lobsters". OurSportsCentral. February 17, 2016. http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/wtt-updates-status-of-boston-lobsters/n-5101483.
- "Mylan WTT 2016 Season Includes NYC Return, Expanded Broadcast Coverage". OurSportsCentral. February 17, 2016. http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/mylan-wtt-2016-season-includes-nyc-return-expanded-broadcast-coverage/n-5101461.
- "World TeamTennis co-founder Billie Jean King sells majority stake of historic league to Mark Ein and Fred Luddy". World TeamTennis. March 13, 2017. http://www.wtt.com/page.aspx?article_id=5392.
- "With a Racket in One Hand, World Team Tennis Passes a Torch With the Other". The New York Times. March 13, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/sports/tennis/world-team-tennis-billie-jean-king.html.
- Bill Bradley (March 5, 2019). "Las Vegas gains franchise in World Team Tennis league". https://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/las-vegas-gains-franchise-in-world-team-tennis-league-1611404/. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- "WTT History". World TeamTennis. http://www.wtt.com/history.
- "Steve Dimitry's WTT Web Page". source data for 1981-2004. tennis-reference. Archived from the original on 2005-02-22. https://web.archive.org/web/20050222094033/http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Arena/6925/wtt.html. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
- "Mylan World TeamTennis". Archived from the original on 2016-10-31. https://web.archive.org/web/20161031103501/http://wtt.ids-sports.com/stats/703.html. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
- "Breakers Top Aviators 22-18 To Win 2017 Mylan WTT Title". http://www.wtt.com/news/2017-press-release-breakers-defeat-aviators-in-mylan-wtt-finals.
- "Lasers Claim First WTT Championship In Dramatic Final". http://www.wtt.com/news/2018-wtt-finals-springfield-lasers-win-first-wtt-title-over-philadephia. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
General references[edit | edit source]
- Greg Hoffman, The Art of World Team Tennis, San Francisco Book Company, 1977 ISBN 0-913374-65-2
- World TeamTennis, Official Website
- Brief History of World TeamTennis. From the WTT site.
- WTT Logos
- More WTT Logos
- "Tennis: Navratilova, Connors picked". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press: p. 3C. March 27, 1998. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kUAgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hn0EAAAAIBAJ&pg=6397,2029377&dq=springfield+lasers+tennis&hl=en.
[edit | edit source]