Seventeen-year-old Auckland tennis player Sacha Jones is to debut alongside Serena Williams in World Team Tennis (WTT) for the Washington Kastles when the 2008 season kicks off later this week in USA.
Sacha joins the team tomorrow ready for Washington Kastles first tie on 4 July in Philadelphia while Serena, currently a Wimbledon semi-finalist, will play her first match post Wimbledon on 8 July in a Washington DC home tie.
Sacha has been in USA training for the last couple of weeks. Following WTT she plans to head to Europe in August to play some women’s ITF claycourt events at the $US25,000- $US50,000 level.
The other players in the 2008 Washington Kastles team are:
- Justin Gimelstob, who holds two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles,
- Mashona Washington, a former top 50 WTA player
- Scott Oudesma, who has three Grand Slam Juniors Double titles to his name
Other tennis greats to play WTT in 2008 include Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, John McEnroe, and Andy Roddick.
In total there are 46 players rostered from 17 countries all who are a mix of former greats, current pros and emerging faces.
The unique gender-balanced team concept for WTT was created in the early 70s by League co-founders Billie Jean King and Larry King.
The 2008 season will be the 33rd year of the World Team Tennis action. WTT is well known for introducing innovative elements to tennis including instant replay, co-ed format, cumulative and no-ad scoring, on-court coaching, supertiebreakers, multi-coloured courts (above) and player names on back of their shirts.
The format used for a WTT Pro League match features teams comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Each match consists of five sets, with one set each of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles. Eleven teams throughout the U.S. compete in the WTT Pro League presented by Advanta July 3-27 2008.
The Washington Kastles are a new franchise in the league and when commenting on the new team, tennis legend Billie Jean King said:
“I think they have a great chance to do well. They have an amazing franchise player in Serena Williams who has been great for World TeamTennis. The Kastles have a great mix of youth and experience. There's a young up-and-comer in Sacha Jones and players with more tour experience like Scott Oudsema, Mashona Washington and Justin Gimelstob and a great coach in Thomas Blake. It's important to remember that WTT is about team - it's all about winning games because we use cumulative scoring. Men and women contribute equally and it's fast-paced, fun and a little furious. We play lets and have no-ad scoring so you have to focus on every single point and every game counts in WTT. It's about team”
Source: Tennis New Zealand