Billie Jean Kingís World Team Tennis (WTT) is all about making tennis fun. Where else can you see professional tennis in a team event with singles followed by doubles and mixed doubles. Play is frequently on a wildly multi-colored court with lively music often heard in the background. Thereís substitution, on-court coaching and overtime. Itís tennis the way tennis should be played.
World Team Tennis started in 1974 as a professional team competition with men and women competing with and against each other. The format includes womenís singles and doubles, menís singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. There are funky rules like let serves are in play and a wild super tiebreak at the end. A normal match generally takes between two and three hours to complete. The emphasis is on having fun, and winning isnít so bad either.
The current WTT pro season runs through summer, beginning after Wimbledon, and concluding with a championship playoff match on the final super weekend. Teams participate in a Western Conference and an Eastern Conference. Recent conference winners include the New York Buzz, Boston Lobsters, Kansas City Explorers, Sacramento Capitals and most recently the Washington Kastles.
The winningest team in WTT history is the Sacramento Capitals (the ďSac CapísĒ for short), having won 6 championships to date. And where would you guess a winning team plays their home matchesÖremember, WTT brings tennis to the people. Itís not at the fancy Arco Arena (home of the Sacramento Kings). Not anywhere on the grounds of the California State Fair venue. Nope. The Sacramento Capitals play on a temporary court constructed in the parking lot of the local shopping mall. Yes itís true.
Many great players have participated in World Team Tennis over the years, from Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, to Martina Navratilova and Rod Laver. Current players include Martina Hingis, the Bryan Brothers, John McEnroe, Venus and Serena Williams, Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg. Youíll see these marquee players in a few of the matches, but there are plenty of talented up and coming players to watch as well.
For tennis fans interested in playing their own version of World Team Tennis, there are local recreational leagues and corporate leagues. Younger players can participate in collegiate and high school leagues. Thereís also a National Junior competition.
Have fun on the courts.