World TeamTennis is growing to a league of eight teams for its upcoming 44th season after announcing this week that expansion franchises in Las Vegas and Orlando will begin play in July.
The WTT season will run from July 14-31, and the 2019 WTT playoffs will be hosted at Orleans Arena at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Aug. 2-3.
The Orlando Storm and it will play its home matches at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus in the Lake Nona community in Orlando, Fla. The Orlando Storm will be coached by Scott Lipsky, a 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion and winner of 16 ATP doubles titles, with Jocelyn Davie serving as the General Manager.
“The addition of two new franchises in Las Vegas and Orlando signifies the continued growth of World TeamTennis and the embracing of the league’s exciting fan-friendly team format,” WTT CEO Carlos Silva said. “We look forward to many of the top players in the world creating new rivalries, and renewing old ones, as they compete for the King Trophy during the 2019 season.”
Orlando and Vegas will begin to fill out their squads at the WTT Draft on March 12 in Indian Wells, Calif.
“The addition of two new teams in two strong markets is a positive move for WTT for 2019 and for the future,” said WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. “This expansion is not only good for the league, it also is another indication of the importance of bringing our brand of tennis to new audiences and our commitment to growing the sport at all levels.”
WTT introduced professional team tennis to the world in 1974, with Billie Jean King famously serving as its co-founder. The new teams in Orlando and Las Vegas join the league’s existing franchises — New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers and Washington Kastles — for play in July 2019.
Among the notable 2019 WTT season-opening matches on July 14, Orlando and Vegas play each other at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
In last year’s league final the Springfield Lasers, the WTT’s longest-running franchise, defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms in the WTT Finals at Drexel University in Philadelphia to capture the King Trophy and its first WTT championship in its 23-year history.
In 2018, each of WTT’s teams incorporated select tennis stars from the ATP and WTA tours — including seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and 13-year WTT veteran Venus Williams, 2019 Australian Open and 2018 US Open women’s singles champion Naomi Osaka, 2017 US Open women’s champion Sloane Stephens, and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the most decorated doubles team in tennis history.
For more info visit www.wtt.com.