Davenport, Roddick top World TeamTennis Marquee Draft
Serena and Venus Williams, Bob and Mike Bryan and Martina Navratilova also sign on for League’s 33rd season
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Feb. 19, 2008) – Lindsay Davenport topped an all-American lineup of tennis stars when she was selected by the Newport Beach Breakers with the first pick in the 2008 World TeamTennis Marquee Player Draft. Andy Roddick was picked up by the St. Louis Aces with the second selection.
The WTT Pro League presented by Advanta annually showcases tennis pros from all over the world, but the 2008 WTT Marquee Player Draft was a Who’s Who of American tennis with a multi-generational lineup of current and future Hall of Famers.
The League’s newest entry, the Washington Kastles, grabbed one of the games biggest names, Serena Williams. Other top stars selected in the Marquee Draft were Venus Williams (Philadelphia Freedoms), Martina Navratilova (Boston Lobsters), and top doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan (Kansas City Explorers).
Team schedules, including marquee player visits, will be released by the end of February. Teams will continue to build their rosters on April 1 when the WTT Roster Player Draft is held in Miami. Marquee players typically play a limited schedule while roster players play the full 3-week season, which runs July 3-23. Additional marquee players could be added prior to the start of the season.
Davenport gave birth to her first child last June and made an impressive return to pro tennis only six weeks later for a World TeamTennis match in Sacramento. Since her return, the former world no. 1 has won three singles titles, adding to her impressive career total of 54 singles titles. This will be the 8th WTT season for Davenport, who previously played for the Breakers in 2003.
Roddick, who made his WTT debut in 2000, returns to the St. Louis Aces for the first time since 2005. Roddick played for the Aces from 2001-2003 and again in 2005.
Navratilova returns for a League record 19th season, playing this summer for the Boston Lobsters. Navratilova previously was on the Lobsters’ roster in 1978, 2005 and 2006.
Philadelphia protected 2007 Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams who returns for her 5th WTT season and third consecutive year playing for the Freedoms. Serena Williams started with WTT in 2000 and returned to the League in 2007 but was unable to play last year due to injury.
America’s top doubles duo of Bob and Mike Bryan have led the Kansas City squad since 2004. The Bryans, who recently helped the U.S. capture the Davis Cup title, are both back for their 6th season of WTT competition. Their father, Wayne Bryan, is the coach of the defending champion Sacramento Capitals.
The 11-team league was co-founded by Billie Jean King in the early 1970s. Each team has two male and two female players who play singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches.
The season runs from July 3-23, with the WTT Championship Weekend scheduled for July 24-27 in Roseville, Calif.
WTT Marquee Player Draft (teams draft in reverse order of 2007 finish)
1. Newport Beach Breakers Lindsay Davenport
2. St. Louis Aces Andy Roddick
3. Boston Lobsters Martina Navratilova
4. New York Sportimes –
5. Delaware Smash –
6. Washington Kastles Serena Williams
7. Kansas City Explorers Bob & Mike Bryan (p)
8. Philadelphia Freedoms Venus Williams (p)
9. Springfield Lasers –
10. New York Buzz –
11. Sacramento Capitals –
p = protection
End of February: WTT releases regular season schedule & marquee player visits
April 1: WTT Roster Player Draft in Miami
July 3-23: WTT regular season
July 24-27: WTT Championship Weekend in Roseville, Calif.
The 2008 season will be the 33rd year of World TeamTennis action. WTT is well known for introducing innovative elements to tennis including instant replay, co-ed format, cumulative and no-ad scoring, on-court coaching, Supertiebreakers, multi-colored courts and player names on back of their shirts.
Advanta is the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League and the official business credit card of World TeamTennis. Official WTT Pro League sponsors for the 2008 season are Bälle dê Mätch, FirmGreen Energy, Gatorade, GEICO and Wilson Racquet Sports.