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Washington Kastles 2011 Season Preview

July 1, 2011 - World TeamTennis (WTT) Washington Kastles

The fourth season of Washington Kastles tennis promises to be one fans won't soon forget, featuring the much-anticipated return of Venus and Serena Williams and the debut of the team's new stadium on the Southwest Waterfront.

The Kastles will play 14 matches in 17 days, all leading up to World TeamTennis Championship Weekend July 22-24 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Follow the Kastles' efforts to reclaim the King Trophy all season long with live scores from all 14 matches on WashingtonKastles.com, and live match details on Facebook and Twitter. Each Kastles' E-Newsletter throughout the season will feature match reviews and previews, beginning with this look at the team's 2011 campaign.

Please note that all Kastles' home matches this season will begin at 7 pm. If you can't make it to Kastles Stadium at The Wharf each night, four of the home matches will air live on Comcast SportsNet (CSN), highlighted by a simulcast of the home opener with The Tennis Channel (TTC)

Tuesday, July 5: Kansas City Explorers @ KASTLES - Tickets, TV: TTC, CSN

Washington and Kansas City, the last two WTT Champions, meet in the historic home opener at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on what is sure to be a night to remember. Venus Williams leads the Kastles in her first match in the United States since the 2010 US Open, while Ricardo Mello and Kveta Peschke return for KC in a rematch of a dramatic 24-22 Explorers' overtime win last season. This year, the Kastles look to have a clear edge in men's doubles and women's singles. But Mello will push Bobby Reynolds in men's singles and the doubles world No. 6 Peschke will test Washington in women's and mixed doubles.

All fans in attendance will receive a commemorative Kastles' T-shirt courtesy of GEICO.

ROAD TRIP

On Wednesday, July 6th at 7 pm, Venus and her teammates will meet the Philadelphia Freedoms in the Kastles' second consecutive nationally-televised match on The Tennis Channel. The match will also air live on CSN.

Thursday, July 7: Boston Lobsters @ KASTLES - Tickets, TV: CSN

Serena Williams is scheduled to play her first match in the United States since the 2009 US Open when she and the Kastles meet the Boston Lobsters, who knocked Washington out of playoff contention in the final match of the 2010 season. Williams and Rennae Stubbs have much more 'big match' experience than their female counterparts from the Lobsters: CoCo Vandeweghe and former Kastle Mashona Washington. In men's play, Boston boasts former Top 20 singles player Jan-Michael Gambill and ATP World Tour doubles specialist Eric Butorac, who has consistently risen up the rankings and now sits at No. 23 in the world.

ROAD TRIP

The Kastles travel to meet the Springfield Lasers on Friday, July 8th. One night later, Serena will rejoin Washington when the Kastles compete against the Sacramento Capitals, led by former world No. 1 doubles player Mark Knowles. Washington wraps up its three-match swing with the Western Conference when it meets Taylor Dent and the Newport Beach Breakers on Monday, July 11th. Following a 10:15 pm ET start in Newport Beach, the Kastles will have to jet back quickly to DC for an important home match the next night.

Tuesday, July 12: New York Sportimes @ KASTLES - Tickets, TV: CSN

John McEnroe leads the New York Sportimes into DC on SunTrust Night to add another chapter to the most heated rivalry in World TeamTennis. Robert Kendrick and Leander Paes are expected to be on opposite sides of the court in men's doubles, just as they were when they tagged each other with shots in 2009, sparking a confrontation between McEnroe and Paes. A men's singles set featuring Bobby Reynolds of the Kastles could prove pivotal. In the first match of 2010, Jesse Witten of the Sportimes halted a dramatic comeback by Reynolds in a Supertiebreaker to give New York a 21-20 win over Washington.

Thursday, July 14: Springfield Lasers @ KASTLES - Tickets, TV: CSN

It's a rematch of the 2009 WTT Finals, when the Kastles saved three championship points to defeat the Lasers in dramatic fashion. Springfield brings a strong roster of proven tour veterans: Rik De Voest, Paul Hanley, Lilia Osterloh and Carly Gullickson. Hanley is a talented doubles player and Gullickson won the 2009 US Open mixed doubles title. Head to head, however, the Kastles match up nicely in all five sets.

Friday, July 15: St. Louis Aces @ KASTLES - Tickets

Chris Evert, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, will play in a halftime exhibition and host a meet-and-greet with fans before the match between the Kastles and Aces. Top-ranked doubles specialist Liezel Huber will anchor the Aces' women's and mixed doubles teams. But when it comes to men's play, Leander Paes is a better doubles player than Jean-Julien Rojer and Bobby Reynolds has more singles experience than Roman Borvanov.

ROAD TRIP

In their final meeting of the season, Washington and Boston will battle in Beantown on Saturday, July 16th. If 2010 is any indication, the winner of the match could be in line for a playoff spot. Boston won at home against Washington at the end of last season, so the Kastles will have revenge on their minds.

Monday, July 18: Sacramento Capitals @ KASTLES - Tickets

The Kastles and Capitals meet on Family Night at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf in what promises to be one of Washington's toughest matches. The Capitals are coached by the charismatic Wayne Bryan, father of world No. 1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan. On the court, Sacramento is led by Vania King, a former Top 50 singles player who also won the Wimbledon and US Open women's doubles titles last season. Serbian shot-maker Dusan Vemic, doubles specialist Mark Knowles and UCLA alum Yasmin Schnack round out the Capitals' roster.

ROAD TRIP

The last two Eastern Conference Champions will be vying for playoff positioning when the Kastles visit their arch rivals, the New York Sportimes, in Albany on July 19th, and then on Randall's Island in New York City on July 20th. Serena Williams will play for Washington in both matches, setting up a potential showdown with her longtime rival Martina Hingis of the Sportimes. The July 20 match will be televised live on The Tennis Channel and CSN at 7 pm. You won't want to miss it!

Thursday, July 21: Philadelphia Freedoms @ KASTLES - Tickets

In the 2011 regular season finale, the Kastles will be looking to make their last push toward WTT Championship Weekend. The Freedoms feature 19-year-old Beatrice Capra of Ellicott City, Maryland. Capra, who grew up playing in College Park, reached the third round at the 2010 US Open as a wild card, upsetting No. 18 seed Aravane Rezai along the way. The local favorite will attend Duke University in the fall.

Friday-Sunday July 22-24: WTT Championship Weekend - Tickets, TV: TTC, CSN

The top two teams in each conference will travel to the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, South Carolina, but only one will leave with the King Trophy. At 7 pm on July 22nd, the Kastles plan on playing in the Eastern Conference Championship match. After the Western Conference Championship match is played on July 23rd, the WTT Finals will air live on The Tennis Channel and CSN at 5 pm on Sunday, July 24th. If you can't make the trip to Charleston, be sure to follow the Kastles' quest for a second WTT title on television and online at the team's website, Facebook and Twitter.

Kastles Kick-Off Party Serves Taste of Wimbledon

The Washington Kastles brought Wimbledon to The Wharf on Wednesday night during the team's annual kick-off party for season-ticket holders, media and sponsors. More than 100 people got a sneak peek at the brand-new Kastles Stadium at The Wharf while dining on strawberries-and-cream and sipping on PIMM'S.

With the sun setting off the Potomac River, fans and followers took tours of the new venue, tested their service speed at the Fast Serve exhibit and traded strokes on a QuickStart Tennis court featuring WTT colors.

The real WTT court will be put to good use starting Tuesday when the Kastles meet Kansas City in the historic home opener at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf. With Venus Williams in the Kastles lineup, a commemorative T-shirt giveaway for all fans and a live national television audience, tickets are going fast!

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World TeamTennis Stories from July 1, 2011


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