Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Jack Sock, John Isner, Bob & Mike Bryan Headline Returning Player Field; Kevin Anderson, Tennys Sandgren and Amanda Anisimova Among Players Drafted Tuesday
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (March 13, 2018) – Today’s World TeamTennis Draft was highlighted by the selection of US Open finalist and world No. 9 Kevin Anderson as a Franchise player by the Philadelphia Freedoms, and the Washington Kastles pick of Tennys Sandgren as the overall first selection in the annual Draft.
The WTT Draft was held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the site of the BNP Paribas Open. Anderson will join a star-studded list of players who will compete this summer during the 43rd season of World TeamTennis presented by GEICO, which runs July 15-August 5.
In pre-Draft proceedings, teams also announced returning players including 26-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who will play her 13th WTT season. Other top names announced as protected players include top Americans Jack Sock, John Isner, the all-time winningest doubles team Mike and Bob Bryan, 2017 US Open singles champion Sloane Stephens, John Isner, Mardy Fish and Eugenie Bouchard.
With the first overall pick in the draft, Washington Kastles selected Australian Open quarterfinalist Sandgren. The 26-year-old former University of Tennessee All-American is currently ranked No. 59 in the ATP World Tour rankings. Kastles owner Mark Ein and head coach Murphy Jensen also picked up doubles specialists Robert Lindstedt and Nicole Melichar.
In addition to Anderson, the Freedoms selected 16-year-old up-and-coming WTA player Amanda Anisimova with the second overall pick.
On Tuesday Anisimova fell in the Round of 16 in a straight-set loss to world No. 5-ranked Karolina Pliskova. The wild-card Anisimova from Florida, ranked No. 149 in the world and the US Open Junior Girls champion in 2017, had previous upset wins at Indian Wells against No. 23-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No. 9 Petra Kvitova.
The Freedoms, owned by league co-founder Billie Jean King, also chose former Georgia Tech All-American Kevin King, completing their roster which includes Taylor Townsend, Fabrice Martin, and Franchise player and reigning US Open champion Stephens.
The defending champion Orange County Breakers selected two ATP players during the draft – Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil and Stephane Robert of France. They will be joined by previously announced roster players, 2017 Female MVP Andreja Klepac and 2017 Female Rookie of the Year Yanina Wickmayer.
Former WTT League MVP Vania King was selected by the Springfield Lasers with its first draft pick. Serbian 18-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic, a former US Open Junior singles finalist, was also selected on Tuesday by Springfield, as was Canadian Davis Cup player Daniel Nestor, a former world No. 1 in doubles who has won every major, including four mixed doubles Grand Slams, and an Olympic gold. Doubles standout Abigail Spears, who subbed for the Lasers in 2017, was also announced as a returning player prior to the Draft.
The New York Empire will return to play its home matches at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., this season. On Tuesday coach Gigi Fernandez selected roster players Tatjana Maria of Germany, former UCLA star Dennis Novikov, and veteran WTA player from Spain, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
The San Diego Aviators added 2016 Wimbledon qualifier Marcus Willis, Poland’s Marcin Matkowski, and Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
TEAM ROSTERS FOLLOWING WTT DRAFT:
The following is the completed roster for each of the teams in order of draft selection with players selected on Tuesday in bold. The other roster players were previously “protected” by the teams they played for in 2017.
Note: *–denotes Franchise player
*Bob and Mike Bryan, *Venus Williams, Madison Brengle, Tennys Sandgren, Robert Lindstedt, Nicole Melichar. Coach: Murphy Jensen
*Sloane Stephens, Fabrice Martin, Taylor Townsend, Amanda Anisimova, Kevin King, *Kevin Anderson. Coach: Craig Kardon
*Jack Sock, Abigail Spears, Vania King, Miomir Kecmanovic, Daniel Nestor. Coach: John-Laffnie de Jager
NEW YORK EMPIRE
*John Isner, *Eugenie Bouchard, *Mardy Fish, Neal Skupski, Tatjana Maria, Dennis Novikov, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Coach: Gigi Fernandez
ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS
Andreja Klepac, Yanina Wickmayer, Marcelo Demoliner, Stephane Robert. Coach: Rick Leach
SAN DIEGO AVIATORS
Naomi Broady, Marcus Willis, Marcin Matkowski, Anna-Lena Groenefeld. Coach: John Lloyd
About World TeamTennis:
World TeamTennis (WTT) showcases the best in professional tennis with the innovative team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. Recognized as the leader in professional team tennis competition, WTT features many of the world’s best players competing annually for the King Trophy, the league’s championship trophy named after King. In July 2015, WTT became the fifth major professional team sports league in the U.S. to reach the 40th season milestone. In 2017, team owners Mark Ein and Fred Luddy acquired majority ownership of the organization. The 43rd season of WTT presented by GEICO begins July 15 and concludes with the WTT Finals on August 5. On the recreational side of the sport, WTT Community Tennis operates team leagues and events, providing grassroots programming throughout the year. For more information, visit www.WTT.com.
Rosie Crews, WTT (firstname.lastname@example.org) – PH: 817.684.0366