If you can’t make it to the US Open in Flushing, NY, one of the major Grand Slam titles to be won on the ATP World Tour, there is another place to check out some great tennis in NYC!
WTT, World Team Tennis, began in 1974, with co‐founder Billie Jean King, a very successful female tennis player (39 Grand Slam titles) and influential figure in society and most importantly, the tennis world. WTT is a co-ed professional tennis league.
Last night’s event was a special one to any tennis fan out there. New York’s own team, the New York Sportimes, hosted the Boston Lobsters at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall’s Island.
John McEnroe took on Andre Agassi in the feature men’s singles match.
The proceeds for this event were going to the John McEnroe Foundation, which is a not‐for‐profit to provide scholarships, coaching, transportation, and other financial assistance to young and qualified tennis players in the NYC area.
“I was lucky in a lot of ways, I fell into it a certain degree, and a lot of kids don’t have that opportunity. So as long as I’m out there on the tennis court, we have to continue to come up with as many ways as possible, to get as many kids as possible out on the court. I think we all know it’s still too expensive of a game.“ McEnroe commented on his foundation, he was raised in Queens. Now he feels it is his time to help other young kids with promising talent.
WTT scores a match differently then one on the ATP Tour. The format consists of five events; men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, five sets total, and the final score is cumulative. Last night the NY Sportimes continued their home court winning consistency to five wins after beating the Lobsters 22‐18.
The featured match, McEnroe vs. Agassi, came down to a tiebreaker for the winning point. McEnroe, ten years senior to Agassi, was still moving around the court like a seasoned tennis pro. Clearly he is not in his Grand Slam winning mindset, but he kept up with Agassi all the way down to a tiebreak. Agassi took the set, giving Boston a much needed five points (the game is the first to four, but in a tie break, the player who hits five first after it is 4-all, takes the game).
“I just spent three weeks in Europe, doing absolutely nothing except enjoying myself, I look at this as another win. I hope I can hit the ball as good as I need to,” Agassi said pre‐match.
He did so in the men’s singles, but in mixed doubles, when Martina Hingis is playing for the Sportimes, there is no chance. She has five Grand Slam titles, and is in her fifth season in WTT. She was ranked number one in the world in singles and doubles at the same time. At 31 years old, she has a mean forehand and a vicious two‐handed backhand. She led the Sportimes to a WTT Championship in 2005, and has not backed down. The Sportimes currently sit in second place in their division, behind the first place and undefeated and reigning champs the Washington Kastles.
The Sportimes venue is so intimate, with not one bad seat on hand. The seats are so close I was able to hear Hingis at one point during mixed doubles tell Agassi to, “come on hit the ball to me!” He had fouled his first serve. Agassi responded back saying, “I don’t want to get in a rally with you, it’s embarrassing!”
They all know how good Hingis still is.
The Sportimes take on the Kastles in the last home match of the season on July 25.
Venus Williams will help the Kastles try to dominate, but Hingis and her crew won’t make it easy. The top two teams in the conference advance, so this ending match could be a preview of the post season.