WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 2019 season wasn’t exactly what Washington Kastles fans expected, but it definitely had its highlights.
For starters, the team’s new stadium on Union Market is just about the hippest thing to happen in tennis in recent memory. Despite an inconvenient patch of rain, the rooftop arena offered fans and players an unparalleled pro sports experience that, once again, proved why it pays to be a Kastles fan. The team’s commitment and dedication to delivering the best and most visionary sports experience in the world is unquestionable.
The Kastles’ effort and grit on court was also inspiring. The team was an early season favorite with five-time Grand Slam champion and world #7 Bruno Soares and Wimbledon mixed doubles champion and world #20 Nicole Melichar leading the core roster. But injuries prevented both from playing more than half the season, forcing the front office to scramble to find last-minute substitutes. Still, the Kastles managed to score a major upset over the 2019 champion Springfield Lasers in the last match at Union Market.
And as always, the Kastles never quit.
In their last match of the season, starting a lineup that included no player from their opening night roster, the six-time WTT champs knocked the 2017 champion Breakers out of playoff contention with a 25-15 win in Orange County.
“This has been a tough season because we’ve had probably 20 different players on our team,” said Kaitlyn Christian, a mid-season Kastles acquisition, “but we just brought good energy today and had a lot of fun. Played some pretty good tennis so it was very exciting.”
The match very much started in Orange County’s favor. Christian and Kastles sub Marcus Daniell appeared to be heading towards a 5-1 defeat in the opening set of mixed doubles at the hands of 2017 MVP Andreja Klepac and Luke Bambridge. However, the Kastles duo erased a 1-4 deficit to mount a comeback and win 5-3 in a tiebreak. From there, Washington’s momentum continued, as Christian and Ashley Kratzer won 5-4 in a tiebreak against Klepac and Nicole Gibbs.
Former University of Illinois standout Jared Hiltzik gave the Kastles their biggest boost in the match with a 5-1 victory over Noah Rubin in men’s singles. Kratzer then built on that lead in women’s singles, edging Gibbs, 5-2 in the tiebreak.
The Breakers tried to save the match in the last set with Bambridge and 2019 NCAA singles champion Petros Chrysochos, but the duo fell, 5-2, to Daniell and Hiltzik, allowing the Kastles to end 2019 on a high note.
Check out more amazing WTT photos from the 2019 season.