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Claude Okin Announces Sale of New York Sportimes to San Diego Group

January 16, 2014 - World TeamTennis (WTT) New York Sportimes

(New York, January 16, 2014)- Claude Okin, CEO of the New York Sportimes of Mylan World TeamTennis announced today that the franchise has been sold to businessman Russell Geyser and the team will be relocated to San Diego, California as the San Diego Aviators. The move brings to an end the Sportimes presence in the New York area for WTT, which began in 2000 as the New York Hamptons. They won the WTT title in 2005 and the Eastern Conference Championship in 2008 and 2010 and helped establish a new tradition of fun and excitement around the sport during the summer months. Some of the biggest names in tennis competed for the club, including John and Patrick McEnroe, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Jim Courier and Kim Clijsters.

Okin issued the following statement following the announcement of the sale:

"I am writing to share the news that 2013 was the last season of the NY Sportimes Mylan World TeamTennis franchise, which has been sold to a new owner who will be moving the team to a San Diego for the 2014 Mylan WTT season and beyond. The team was originally formed by Patrick McEnroe and Richard Ader as the NY Hamptons, and played at SPORTIME clubs in Quogue and Amagansett, or since 2003, when SPORTIME clubs became the team's owner. Hundreds of wonderful and talented people have been a part of the NY Sportimes WTT experience over the last 14 years.

"This is a bittersweet event for me personally. I am very glad to have found a motivated and able new owner for the franchise; a person who will be able to re-imagine it in another great tennis town - but I will miss my team.

"My first year running the franchise with Patrick McEnroe was 2002. I was 39 years old and my kids, who also grew up with WTT, were 6, 4 and 2. The next year, SPORTIME clubs acquired the franchise and moved it to our club in Mamaroneck, Westchester, where we operated it for six seasons, then moving it to our new flagship facility on Randall's Island, NYC, for the 2009-2013 seasons, or parts thereof. The 14 years with WTT went by awfully fast. I have no idea how life is going to feel without the frustrations, pleasures, and eternal optimism of WTT. Now I can spend the entire summer focusing on my day job and on my tennis game. I will probably go crazy. Through good times and bad, I always believed in the product and in the metaphor, in Billie Jean King and in the NY Sportimes. If I could start over, I would do many things differently of course, but I would still do it. Mostly I will miss trying to win a Championship (we only won one in 2005 - thank you Martina Hingis!) and to put on a great tennis show every summer with my friends. There were so many amazing matches and so many great times.

"It has been a particular and unique honor to have gotten to know Billie Jean King and to have shared this challenging endeavor that means so much to her. I think she knows that it has meant almost as much to those who have fought the fight alongside her. My involvement with World TeamTennis also led to my relationship with my friend and partner, and the greatest tennis player in the history of New York, John McEnroe, and to the creation of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in 2010 and of the Johnny Mac Tennis Project soon thereafter. And while it is time for my Company to focus its resources on these important endeavors, which we believe will have a significant impact on the future of tennis in New York and beyond, I need to thank WTT for the great times and opportunities it has provided, and John for being a great Captain of our team all these years. I will always be rooting for the success of World TeamTennis.

"Finally, I want to thank the many people I have known and worked with through my WTT experience. Many of the people to whom I have been closest over the last 14 years have been people I met and knew through WTT. So thanks everybody, for working so hard, for caring so much, for competing so hard, and for sharing this great experience with me and my family, whether for a year or for more than a decade."

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