World TeamTennis to Make Australian Open Debut
January 19, 2010
New York, N.Y. — World TeamTennis will make its Australian debut in the second week of Australian Open 2010. The American-based concept co-founded by tennis legend Billie Jean King in the 1970s has been thrilling United States tennis crowds for more than three decades. A special Australia versus Internationals match will be played on Margaret Court Arena on January 27.
WTT co-founder Billie Jean King is confident Australian crowds will love the concept. “For more than three decades World TeamTennis has been one of the leading innovators in tennis and we are so excited to bring our unique brand of tennis to the worldwide stage at this year’s Australian Open,” said King. “This year marks our 35th season and some of my favorite moments in WTT were playing alongside and against some of the Australian greats. To have the opportunity to introduce WTT to an entirely new generation of Australian fans is both an honor and a privilege.” Some of the greats of the sport have been included in the two teams.
An Australian team of Pat Rafter, Pat Cash, Nicole Bradtke and Alicia Molik will take to the court under the guidance of team coach John Fitzgerald. The International team comprises Tracy Austin, Goran Ivanisevic, Todd Martin and Mary Joe Fernandez who will also coach the team.
The WTT match consists of five sets, with one set each of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The first team to reach five games wins each set and team scoring is cumulative over the five sets. “It is good fun, interactive and high quality tennis,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley explained. “It is fiercely competitive and the team spirit is strong and adds another dimension to the tennis.”
Australian tennis champions have been very much a part of the WTT history with Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Evonne Cawley, Roy Emerson, Pat Rafter, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Ken Rosewall, Wendy Turnbull and Mark Philippoussis all playing at some point in their careers. Current day players Casey Dellacqua, Rennae Stubbs, Ashley Fisher and Joe Sirianni are also among the 74 Australians who have collectively played 203 seasons and won 22 titles in World TeamTennis in its rich three decade history. For more information on the 2010 Australian Open, visit australianopen.com.