News from World TeamTennis - - March 27, 2006
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WTT Player Draft set for Tuesday, March 28
Follow the draft live on WTT.com
Pete S 001

Pete Sampras. Venus Williams. John McEnroe. Anna Kournikova. Who will be playing for your favorite WTT teams this summer? That question will be answered when the 2006 WTT Pro League Player Draft gets underway at 10 am (EST) on Tuesday, March 28, in Miami. For the first time in League history, fans can follow the draft results live online at www.WTT.com

The 12 teams will draft in reverse order of the previous year's final team standings, based on overall match won/loss record. The New York Sportimes, the 2005 WTT Champions, will draft last. For the Houston Wranglers, the only good thing about their 2005 record is they get the top spot in the 2006 draft.

Players expected to be taken in the first rounds of the draft include Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, Nicole Vaidisova, Anna Kournikova, Mardy Fish, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, and the doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan.

Teams can protect the rights to players who suited up for them during the previous year or even trade those rights to another team for a player or financial consideration. Draft day traditionally includes a few position or player trades during and after the draft. The final draft results, including all trades, will be posted no later than 2 p.m. EST on the website. The 2006 WTT schedule will be released mid- April.

It's Vegas, Baby!
WTT Rec Qualifier set for Las Vegas, April 28-30
4.5 champs Bradenton

The second WTT national qualifier of the 2006 season is set for the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, April 28-30. Teams from several states are expected to compete for titles in seven divisions and an opportunity to advance to the 2006 WTT Nationals, Nov. 2-5, in Indian Wells, Calif. The deadline for Las Vegas entries is April 14.
Las Vegas registration

Six teams have already earned their trip to the Desert with wins in Bradenton, Fla., last month.

Winners from each division at the WTT National Qualifier in Bradenton, Fla.
4.5: Saratoga Slammers (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) (pictured above)
4.0: Game-Set-Match (Key Biscayne, Fla.)
3.0: Ball Busters (Buena Vista, Ga.)
3.5: Plash (Scotia, N.Y.)
Senior 3.5/under: Slow Mo’ (Longboat Key, Fla.)
Senior 4.0: Beach Nuts (Virginia Beach, Va.)

75,000 racquets provided as part of
Advanta's "Ready, Set, Racquet" program for kids
Advanta racquets 1

In 2003, Advanta started the “Ready, Set, Racquet!” program for children in order to promote youth fitness and the lifelong sport of tennis. In the program’s first year, 20,000 free racquets were distributed.

In 2005, the Spring House, Pa., based company became the presenting sponsor of World TeamTennis, and free racquets, tennis balls and books were provided to children who attended any Pro League match in the country. In addition, racquets were distributed at the Advanta Championships for the third straight year, and many youth organizations in the Philadelphia area and around the country received free Advanta racquets as part of the program.

More than 75,000 free racquets have now been distributed to children by Advanta since the program’s inception, and thousands more will be given away in 2006.

“Our hope is that kids will be inspired by these athletes to go out and start playing,” said Dennis Alter, Chairman and CEO of Advanta and himself an avid tennis player. “Recent studies have shown that, more than most sports, tennis can be sustained throughout life and therefore yields lifelong health benefits. We are committed to introducing children to the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle, both on and off the court.”

Photo: Advanta

Tennis Tips from Wilson
“Magical Momentum”
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If you would like to become a doubles specialist, you’ll need to learn “magical momentum” for a game that can change like Chicago weather.

You spin in a first serve, waltz tenaciously into the net, smile at the shallow return, and smash a volley winner. Your next serve the opponent lobs, and your partner smashes an effortless overhead. Another point ensues, with a rapid volley exchange that ends with the winning volley up the middle. Doubles induces quick points, and frequent winners. In a match, a player sometimes goes two, three, or a whole game’s worth of points, without hitting a shot. Doubles is chemistry, a shift in moods, and a game of “peaks and valleys”. Whatever doubles is, it’s a game of momentum.

Controlling momentum is to the doubles team like slight of hand is to the magician. A 0-3 deficit can happen as quickly as a rabbit is pulled from a hat. The most successful doubles teams gain the slight of hand through communication and appropriate shot strategy to help swing the rabbit tricks in their favor.

Too often, players act as two individuals on the doubles court. Successful teams communicate and recognize when to continue the pace of play, and more importantly, when to regulate the pace before a set or match is out of grasp.

If you find that the points of a match are falling in your favor, keep quick, positive communication with your partner and continue your strategy. Dazzle your opponents with your magic before they know what hit them, and your lead will build.

You will want to slow down play if your opponents appear quicker, more talented, aggressive, or lack team experience. Taking your time between points can keep a more aggressive team out of sync, or put an inexperienced team into a frustrated frenzy.

Whether at a quick or slow pace, the magic, or strategy that your team attempts to create must constantly be evaluated. If a usually aggressive style of play is backfiring and the match finds your team getting burned, take some time with your partner and cool off your hot opponent. Throwing up some lobs and mixing up speeds of serves and returns can be methods of dousing quick fires, too.

If you are the hot team, keep the fire burning with “kindling” comments like, “Let’s keep it going”, or simple nods of the head.

Controlling momentum is the experienced team’s weapon, or “bag of tricks”.

Tip by Jim Burda

Billie Jean King documentary airs on HBO, April 26

The HBO Documentary Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer takes an in-depth look at the professional and personal life of the tennis legend. The documentary, scheduled to air at 10 p.m. EST on April 26, explores King’s life as a trailblazer on and off the court. Elton John, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova are among those interviewed for the special.

Rec League Director Margaret Dorsey

They put in long hours, often for little more than the love of the game. They are also the foundation of the WTT Recreational League. This month, meet Margaret Dorsey, a dedicated league director from Chicago, and learn a little more about why she gives so much back to the game.

How long have you been a league director for the World TeamTennis Recreational League?
2000 till present (6 years)

Who has been an inspiration to you? Why?
Billie Jean King for thinking "outside of the box" and forming a playing format that has proven to be a positive and progressive way for individuals to play the game of tennis on a competitive but social level.

What is your fondest memory of being a league director?
The second year that the Chicago Southside League was being formed the individual players were becoming antagonistic about who would be on each team and the lottery got out of hand. As the Director I told the group that based on their behavior we would not run the League. Within an instant they all straightened up and agreed to follow the lottery process. It showed me that their real interest was playing the League but also learning to be fair in the process.

What is one of the funniest moments/stories you have as a league director?
One of my fondest memories is one evening most of the WTT players wore their team shirts and pictures were taken of them supporting their players from the sideline. The pictures showed the solidarity of the teams and the support that had formed by the fourth year of the League. There have not been very many funny stories as these players have been pretty competitive from the start and I am more impressed with them learning to mesh and play co-ed team tennis.

What has been the greatest accomplishment for your league?
For a 95% African American World TeamTennis League to be in place going on six summers and to see the growth of the League has been a great accomplishment for tennis on the south side of Chicago.

What are your visions/goals for your league?
Ideally I would like to have each division play on a different night in order to expand each division. Presently 3.0/under and 3.5/under play on Monday evenings and 4.0/under and 4.5/under play on Tuesday evenings on four public park courts, which limits the number of teams to four in each division. Currently this is the fairest way to play the league so that all four divisions are represented. Also evening hours are more desirable for these players and court availability is limited.

If you could give one piece of advice to other players in the Rec League, what would it be?
My greatest advice to any Rec League player would be to spread the word and support World TeamTennis. It's an excellent opportunity to develop skills, friendships and an opportunity to travel together as a team to compete against other local leagues.

BJK Bumper Sticker

WTT co-founder Billie Jean King holds a bumper sticker that says it all.

All Photos
(except where noted):
Fred & Susan Mullane
(Camerawork USA)

WTT, tennis loses a friend with Gene Scott's passing

Tennis Week founder and publisher Eugene L. Scott died of heart disease on March 20. He was 68. Gene was a great supporter of tennis and will be missed by all his friends at WTT.

“As a player, promoter, journalist and ardent supporter of the great sport of tennis, Gene Scott brought so much to our world and we all are better for having worked with him to grow the sport. He challenged the way we look at tennis and pushed us to make the sport better for everyone. Gene will be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with Polly and Gene’s family.”
Billie Jean King WTT co-founder

Photo: TennisWeek.com

For more on Gene Scott . . .

WTT players continue to leave their mark on the pro tours. Whether it's the big wins of James Blake (Boston) and the Bryan Brothers (aka Mike & Bob) - (Kansas City) in Las Vegas or Milagros Sequera (Hartford) doubling up on the championship hardware with singles and doubles wins in St. Paul, Minn., there were lots of good news (and wins) for WTT players in recent weeks. Follow the daily tour results on WTT.com as WTT players compete in ATP, WTA and USTA events.

Other recent WTT winners include:
Andy Ram (St. Louis) - Israel (S)
Meghann Shaughnessy (Hartford) - Mexico (D)
Tommy Haas (Houston) - Memphis (S)

WTT Rec League Schedule Change:
There is a date change for the Irvine National Qualifier.
WTT is moving the National Qualifier in Irvine, Calif., to the following weekend. The new date of the Irvine tournament will now be September 29 – October 1. All play will be finished by 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Next: WTT Pro League Schedule released in mid-April