Springfield Lasers Draft No. 1 American John Isner for Second Season
Springfield, Mo. - The Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League completed its 41st Season Roster Draft this morning during the Miami Open tennis tournament in Miami, Fla.
The Springfield Lasers, celebrating their 21st season in 2016, drafted John Isner, America's No. 1 male tennis player, for a second consecutive season with the Lasers. Isner, currently ranked No. 13 in the world, will serve as the Lasers' Marquee player, scheduled to appear in one Springfield match this season.
"So excited to be coming back to Springfield this summer," Isner texted Lasers General Manager Paul Nahon after the draft. "Had the best time competing for the Lasers last summer and can't wait to get back on the courts and suit up again."
Aside from Isner, the Lasers drafted an entirely new roster, including Canadian doubles specialist Daniel Nestor, German tour veteran Benjamin Becker, rising Australian star Daria Gavrilova and versatile Dutch player Michaella Krajicek. Coach John-Laffnie "JL" de Jager returns for his 10th season with the Lasers.
Nahon said he feels confident about the newly drafted team.
"The draft worked out almost exactly as we planned it," said Nahon. "Obviously, we're very excited to have John Isner returning as our marquee player. Daniel Nestor was our first-round pick, and he's the foundation of our team. Our regular roster has three seasoned tour players and one up-and-coming. I think we have a very strong team, and we can be a tough contender in the league this year."
Drafted to the team today:
Marquee Draft: John Isner - The No. 1 American male player since 2012, Isner has finished in the (international) top 20 for the last six seasons. Isner, 30, is currently ranked No. 13. He is known for winning the longest match in tennis history, beating Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010 after 11 hours and 5 minutes of play, spread over three days. He also set a new record of 112 aces in one match. At 6'10", with a size 15 shoe, Isner is considered one of the best servers on the ATP World Tour. He has 10 singles titles and three doubles titles, and his career includes wins over Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Nikolay Davydenko, Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic and Marat Safin. Isner turned pro in 2007, the same year he joined the US Davis Cup team. Isner has played five seasons of WTT, four with the Boston Lobsters. Twitter @JohnIsner.
1st Round Pick: Daniel Nestor - Canada's top male doubles player, Nestor, 43, is currently ranked No. 14. Nestor has eight Grand Slam men's doubles titles and four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Overall, he has 88 men's doubles titles and has finished 21 straight seasons in doubles Top 30. In January, Nestor became the first player to ever reach 1,000 doubles wins -ahead of the Bryan brothers. He was named to the ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team 2002, 2004 and 2008, and he won a gold medal in doubles at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. This is his fourth season playing WTT, earning WTT Male MVP in 2006 with Philadelphia Freedoms. Twitter @DanielNestor9.
2nd Round Pick: Benjamin Becker - Finishing in the top 100 eight of the last 10 seasons, Becker, 34, is currently ranked No. 100. Considered a veteran of the ATP tour with a big serve, he has one singles title, with career wins over Agassi (the last match before his retirement in 2006) and Davydenko. He reached the quarterfinals at Memphis and at Delray Beach earlier this year. He was a four-year member of the German Davis Cup team, including 2015, and was the No. 2 German player in 2014. This is Becker's first season of WTT.
3rd Round Pick: Daria Gavrilova - Now at her career-high rank of No. 34, "Dasha," 22, is a rising star in Australia. Russian by birth, Gavrilova switched her nationality to Australia in December and is now qualified to play the Fed Cup with Australia. A former world No. 1 Junior, 2015 was her best year on the pro circuit so far. She has one WTA doubles title. Earlier this month, Gavrilova beat former Laser Olga Govortsova in San Antonio, later facing former Laser Allison Riske in the quarterfinals. This is Gavrilova's first season of WTT. Twitter @Daria_gav.
3rd Round, 2nd Pick: Michaella Krajicek - A versatile player from the Netherlands, Krajicek, 27, is currently ranked No. 57, with three WTA singles and five WTA doubles titles. She was a member of the Dutch Fed Cup team 2004-2007 and 2015. A celebrity in the Netherlands, Krajicek made headlines in 2014 when her now-husband, German doubles player Martin Emmrich, proposed to her on the court at 's-Hertogenbosch. In September, Krajicek beat former Laser Shelby Rogers in the final at Las Vegas in September, also winning over former Laser Sachia Vickery on the way. This is Krajicek's first season of WTT. Twitter @MisaKrajicek.
The 2016 WTT season runs July 31-Aug. 13, with finals Aug. 27. The season is later than usual this year, due to the Summer Olympic Games. The Springfield Lasers play home matches at Mediacom Tennis Stadium at Cooper Tennis Complex, 2331 E. Pythian, Springfield. A full schedule will be available in a few weeks.
The Springfield Lasers are the 2013 and 2014 Western Conference Champions, making it to the WTT finals two years in a row. The Lasers also won the western conference in 2009, 2001 and 1999.
Season tickets for the Springfield Lasers are available now at 417-837-5800. VIP packages go on sale April 4, with individual tickets available in May.
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