With the conclusion of Wimbledon and two weeks before the start of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, it’s time for the 39th season of Billie Jean King’s World Team Tennis. Teams this year include the Boston Lobsters, Sacramento Capitals, New York Sportimes, Orange County Breakers, Texas Wild, Philadelphia Freedoms, Washington Kastles…and here in the Ozarks, the Springfield Lasers.
If you’ve never heard of World Team Tennis, you’re not alone, but I think you’ll have a blast if you make time to attend one of the home matches at Copper Tennis Complex’s Mediacom Tennis Stadium. The matches are designed with the fan in mind, with music between nearly every point and access to the players after the match. It’s also a chance for locals, in their own backyard, to see top players compete in person. In fact, Andy Roddick is a member of the Springfield Lasers and will play for the team this Friday at Mediacom Tennis Stadium vs. the Orange County Breakers.
World Team Tennis is a co-ed team format, played and scored differently to keep each match compelling. Competing teams will play five sets, the order determined by the home coach: Mens Singles, Womens Singles, Mens Doubles, Womens Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The court colors will blow your mind, and the scoring might confuse a tennis purist at first – just remember, in each game, it’s the first to four. In each set (event), it’s the first to five. Should the event be tied at 4-all, they’ll play a nine point tie-break (i.e. the first to five). If the overall score is tied at the end of five events, they’ll play a 13-point supertiebreaker (i.e. the first to seven) to determine a winner. You never have to win by two, there’s no deuce, and all lets are played – so the match moves fast. Each point, each game is crucial to the outcome of the match.
Don West and I will cover the Springfield Lasers home matches this July, starting tonight at 7:00p on Medicom’s MC22. Here is the Lasers home schedule – all matches start at 7:00pm at Cooper Tennis Complex on Pythian in Springfield:
- 7/8 (TV) Springfield Lasers host Boston Lobsters
- 7/12 (TV) Springfield Lasers host Orange County Breakers (Andy Roddick)
- 7/15 (TV) Springfield Lasers host Texas Wild
- 7/18 Springfield Lasers host Sacramento Capitals
- 7/20 (TV) Springfield Lasers host Philadelphia Freedoms
- 7/21 Springfield Lasers host New York Sportimes
- 7/23 (TV) Springfield Lasers host Sacramento Capitals (Sam Querrey)
John-Laffnie de Jager returns for his 7th season as coach of the Springfield Lasers, with Andy Roddick as his marquee player. The team includes South African Rik de Voest, doubles-great Jean Julien-Rojer, veteran Vania King, and the remarkable Alisa Kleybanova, a former top-20 player who has spent most of the past two years recovering from treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Look forward to seeing you at one of the Lasers home matches over the next three weeks. When we’re not at Mediacom Tennis Stadium, you can find me in Branson at the Price is Right, Live! at the Welk Resort Theater. Come on down, and win big!