Washington Kastles Are Kings Again!
The Kastles sent the 2013 WTT season off in style last night in front of a sold out crowd at Kastles Stadium at the Wharf in Washington DC. They won their third WTT Championship in a row, this time over the Springfield Lasers by a score of 25-12. That’s a blowout in WTT parlance, and was the largest victory margin in a WTT Final in 11 years.
A two hour rain delay and a $2 beer offer was the perfect prescription for a boisterous partisan crowd. Though the beer eventually ran dry, the Kastles energy level did not, as they swept all five matches on the program. This marks the first time a team has taken all five matches in the Mylan WTT Finals since the league switched to a first to five games format in 1999.
It was announced on Saturday that Springfield Lasers star Andy Roddick would not be playing singles in the Championship. The way Bobby Reynolds played last night, it would likely have made little difference in the final result.
Reynolds, who was not surprisingly named the MVP of last night’s finals, set the tone early against Rik De Voest in singles. Bobby’s patience paid off as he broke DeVoest twice en route to a 5-1 victory.
Just when you thought the score might tighten up, Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova provided a comeback in their match as they were down 3-2 against Alisa Kleybanova and Vania King. Hingis and Rodionova grabbed the last three games to nab the match 5-3.
Reynolds teamed up with Leander Paes in men’s doubles, and they faced little resistance from Andy Roddick and Jean-Julien Rojer with a 5-2 victory.
Hall of Famer Martina Hingis then dispatched Alisa Kleybanova 5-2 and the feeling of inevitability swept over the crowd. They came to see the Kastles hoist the King Cup, and the crowd that outwaited the rain knew they were in for a treat.
Finally, Paes and Hingis eked out a competitive win against Roddick and Kleyanova 5-4 to close the door on Springfield. Under the WTT’s wacky overtime rules, it’s never over until it’s over. By winning the final match, it was celebration time right away.
“I am a first time Kastle. It’s a great team,” Hingis said. “I love everyone and I hope I can play here again next year!”
After an early retirement in 2007, it looks like Hingis could be back on court–both in World Team Tennis and WTA doubles—for some years to come.
DJ Kool provided halftime entertainment for the fans. Earlier in the evening, I enjoyed listening to the Kastles media rep explaining the details of World Team Tennis to the entertainer. He seemed extremely receptive to the lesson. I mentioned the details of Hingis’ early retirement and he was truly fascinated. He seemed surprised that tennis players might have real-world problems, too.
Last night’s championship match was the first time my wife saw World Team Tennis in person. Same goes for my daughter. I enjoyed both of their reactions. My wife had to get used to the noise, the announcers and the energy of a crowd at a wrestling match. My daughter needed no break-in period. Like I used to yell “Eddie! Eddie!’ at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore for Orioles first baseman Eddie Murray, she was still screaming “Bobby! Bobby!’ out of the car window on the way home.
Kastles staff and owner Mark Ein have done everything possible to make this team and the venue a showcase for tennis in our Nation’s Capital. DC may not be a tennis town like Atlanta or Charleston, but in July, Washington is King of the Court.