Saturday, July 7, 2012

World Team Tennis, The Shortest, Hottest, Funnest Season In Sports

Even our picky “that’s so stupid” teenage girls like going to watch World TeamTennis.

You don’t have to be a tennis player, or even a tennis fan, to enjoy the matches. Unlike tennis on TV, WTT is fast, loud, and fun. It’s also co-ed.

Each team has four players, two men and two women. I used to think the males would dominate the mixed events, but they don’t. Most of the players are up-and-coming hopefuls, with world rankings usually between 80 and 120, which means they are really, really good. Most teams have a marquee star on their rosters, such as a Williams sister or Martina Hingis or Lindsay Davenport, but those pros usually only play one or two home matches.

Martina Navratilova came here a couple of years ago, and although she was no longer the dominating opponent she once was, she was amazing. John McEnroe came to town once, as did Anna Kournikova, who was injured but signed autographs for far more men than usually come to the matches.

We were lucky to have Vania King and Liezel Huber on our side for two years, both top-ranked doubles players, so there is no shortage of excellent play and excellent players.

The game is shorter than on TV, with simple scoring and no ad play. The first side to win four points taks the game, the team with the most games won at the end of the night wins the match. They play men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, my favorite.

The crowd is close to the action, and you can hear the players talk, when the crowd isn’t making too much noise. It's exciting.

Uncle Dan, Libby and Aubrey wait for Vania King's autograph
while she admires the drawings of her the girls made during the match.

If you live in or near a WTT city – Newport Beach, Sacramento, Springfield, KansasCity, New York, Boston, Philidelphia, Washington, D.C. – you should go. Or maybe you can swing by one on your way to Elephant Rocks.

But you better hurry. The WTT season only lasts from July 9 – 28.

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