Top Players Highlight WTT Pro League Draft
February 15, 2011
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.