NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 7, 2012) – The 2012 World TeamTennis Pro League schedule kicks off on Monday, July 9, with the defending champion Washington Kastles vying to continue their 16-match winning streak that started last summer, as they face off against the Orange Country Breakers in Irvine, Calif. League officials today released the 59-match schedule for the three-week regular season of the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which runs July 9-28 and concludes with the WTT Finals Weekend, Sept. 14-16 in Charleston, S.C.
The WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which was co-founded by Billie Jean King, is a professional sports league featuring three generations of tennis stars playing in a coed team format.
The Kastles, who won their second WTT championship last summer with the first undefeated season in WTT history, open the 2012 season on the road against the newly rebranded Orange County Breakers led by former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport. The Breakers, who previously played in Newport Beach since 2003, will make their 2012 debut at the Bren Events Center on the UC Irvine campus.
One of the most highly anticipated matches is a head-to-head showdown between Martina Hingis of the New York Sportimes and the Kastles' Venus Williams on Monday, July 23 in Albany, N.Y. The two former world No. 1s battled 21 times on the WTA Tour, with Hingis holding a narrow 11-10 edge. Hingis is expected to play at least 10 of the Sportimes' 14 matches, including five at the Sportimes' regular home venue Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island in New York, N.Y., and matches in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Albany, N.Y.
Venus Williams will also play in Washington, D.C. on July 24, two days after her sister Serena's only WTT appearance, July 22, also in the nation's capital. It is expected to be the final stateside appearance for Serena Williams prior to the Olympic Games in London.
Davenport, who missed the 2011 season due to pregnancy, will be playing most of her 2012 schedule close to her Southern California home with the Orange County Breakers in Irvine, Calif. Davenport will play all seven Breakers' home matches at the Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine, and will hit the road for matches in Sacramento, Springfield and Boston. Davenport and husband Jon Leach welcomed their third child in January 2012.
Mardy Fish, the top-ranked American male on the ATP Tour, will play home matches for the Sacramento Capitals on July 12 and 13.
Tennis' big man John Isner returns to the Boston Lobsters for two matches, July 23 at home against the Philadelphia Freedoms, and July 24 in Albany, N.Y., to take on the Hingis-led Sportimes.
Mark Philippoussis, who was the top pick in last month’s Marquee Player Draft, plays on July 25 in Philadelphia then leads his Freedoms west to take on Sacramento on July 27 and Orange County on July 28.
Other top names set for WTT action this summer include the world’s top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan of the Kansas City Explorers; John McEnroe of the New York Sportimes; and James Blake of the Philadelphia Freedoms.
Each of the eight teams will play 14 matches - seven home, seven away. Eastern Conference teams are the Boston Lobsters, New York Sportimes, Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington Kastles. Western Conference teams are Newport Beach Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, Springfield Lasers and Kansas City Explorers. The top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conference advance to the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, Sept. 14-16, at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
Team lineups will be finalized at the WTT Roster Draft on Tuesday, March 13 at Noon EST on WTT.com. Marquee players typically play a limited schedule while roster players play the full 3-week season.
For a full schedule and list of marquee player dates, visit www.WTT.com