Andy Roddick, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport have been selected as the top three overall picks in the 2010 World TeamTennis Pro League Marquee Player Draft. The Philadelphia Freedoms selected Roddick with the overall number one selection, while the New York Buzz chose Hingis with the second pick and the St. Louis Aces took Lindsay Davenport with the third pick.
The WTT Pro League, co-founded by Billie Jean King, is a professional co-ed sports league featuring three generations of tennis stars playing in a team format in 10 U.S. markets. The 2010 WTT Pro League begins July 5, concluding with the WTT Championship Finals on July 25.
Prior to the Marquee Draft, two teams made big moves with last-minute trades. The 2009 WTT Champion Washington Kastles acquired the rights from Philadelphia for Venus Williams, who now joins her sister Serena on the Kastles lineup. The New York Sportimes picked up the rights for 2009 US Open Champion Kim Clijsters in a deal with the St. Louis Aces.
Roddick will play one home match for the Freedoms. Roddick, the top ranked American player, finished in the top 10 in 2009 for the eighth consecutive year. This will be the sixth WTT season for Roddick and his first since 2005.
2010 Australian Open champion and world number one-ranked Serena Williams will return to the defending champion Washington Kastles where she will welcome a new teammate, her sister Venus. Although the Williams sisters aren’t expected to play the same matches, the new addition gives the Kastles a formidable lineup. Serena Williams will play one match at home in the nation’s capital and road matches against the New York Sportimes, New York Buzz and Philadelphia Freedoms. Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, who teamed with Serena to win the 2010 Australian Open doubles title, will play one match at home in DC and road matches in Philadelphia and St. Louis.
Martina Hingis returns to the court with the New York Buzz. This is the third WTT season for Hingis who was named the 2005 WTT Finals MVP. The Albany, N.Y.-based Buzz team will have the services of Hingis for all 14 matches this season. Hingis, a former world number one-ranked player in both singles and doubles, has a total of 15 career Grand Slam titles (five singles, nine doubles, and one mixed). Hingis’ full season schedule will make for some interesting head-to-head matches against other top players. The Buzz plan to move one of their home matches to nearby Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, N.Y., where Hingis is scheduled to take on Serena Williams and her Washington Kastles. The Buzz will play their other six home matches at SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany.
Two fan favorites will play for the New York Sportimes this summer. The Sportimes picked up the rights for Kim Clijsters from the St. Louis Aces. Clijsters, who thrilled New York crowds with her run to the 2009 US Open title, will play one home match at Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island. The former world number one in both singles and doubles started her remarkable comeback in 2009 playing World TeamTennis. John McEnroe returns to the New York Sportimes for his tenth WTT season and his eighth with the Sportimes. McEnroe won seven Grand Slam singles titles including three Wimbledon Championships and four US Opens, and 10 Grand Slam doubles titles. During his long career on the ATP Tour, the Hall of Famer also won 77 singles and 71 doubles titles. McEnroe currently plays senior events and is a popular TV commentator. McEnroe will play two home matches and three road matches at Newport Beach, Washington, and New York Buzz.
With their first round pick, the St. Louis Aces selected three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, who will play a minimum of eight matches this summer, including four in St. Louis. This is Davenport’s ninth WTT season. She previously played for the Aces in 2001.Joining Davenport on the Aces’ lineup is WTT veteran Anna Kournikova who returns for her eighth consecutive WTT season, her third in St. Louis. Kournikova won 16 doubles titles including two Grand Slam titles during her career and is a former No. 1 ranked doubles player. She was ranked as high as No. 8 in singles. Kournikova will play one home match in St. Louis and road matches in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
The Newport Beach Breakers protected Maria Sharapova with their first round selection. Sharapova, a former world No. 1 and 3-time Grand Slam singles champion, is scheduled to play one match for the Breakers at the Newport Beach Country Club.
James Blake, a former Harvard All-American, returns to the Boston Lobsters for the first time since 2005. Blake, one of the top American players on the ATP Tour, is a former Top 10 and has 10 singles titles on the ATP Tour. Blake will also play one road match against the New York Sportimes.
Dates for the Marquee Player appearances will be announced when the League schedule is released in late February. Team lineups will be finalized at the WTT Roster Draft on March 16. Marquee players typically play a limited schedule while roster players play the full three-week season. Additional marquee players could be added prior to the start of the season.
WTT Pro League Marquee Player Draft Selections (in Draft order)
1. Philadelphia Freedoms: Andy Roddick
2. New York Buzz: Martina Hingis
3. St. Louis Aces: Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova (2nd round protection)
4. Kansas City Explorers: No selection
5. Sacramento Capitals: No selection
6. Boston Lobsters: James Blake
7. Newport Beach Breakers: Maria Sharapova (1st round protection)
8. New York Sportimes: John McEnroe (1st round protection), Kim Clijsters (rights acquired in pre-draft trade from St. Louis)
9. Springfield Lasers: No selection
10. Washington Kastles: Serena Williams (1st round protection), Venus Williams (rights acquired in pre-draft trade from Philadelphia)
Marquee Player Matches (dates to be determined by end of February)
►Boston Lobsters: James Blake (one home match), Anna Kournikova
►New York Buzz: Martina Hingis (seven home /seven road matches); John McEnroe, Serena Williams
►New York Sportimes: John McEnroe (two home matches); Kim Clijsters (one home match); Serena Williams, James Blake
►Newport Beach Breakers: Maria Sharapova (one home match), John McEnroe
►Philadelphia Freedoms: Andy Roddick (one home match); Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Anna Kournikova)
►St, Louis Aces: Lindsay Davenport (minimum of eight matches; home/road TBD), Anna Kournikova (one home match); Venus Williams
►Washington Kastles: Serena Williams (one home match); Venus Williams (one home match), John McEnroe, Anna Kournikova
For more information, visit www.wtt.com.