Wednesday, July 9, 2008

World TeamTennis Day coming to Rockville

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Former Bullis boys tennis coach Jack Schore and the Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks will host the first-ever World TeamTennis Day July 17 from 2-4 p.m. at the Rockville Civic Center Park.

Children ages 6-16 are encouraged to join the day’s festivities, which will include a tennis clinic run by Wayne Bryan, father and coach of the world’s No. 2 doubles team of twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan, and USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Hall-of-Famer Schore, as well as games and prizes.

Tickets for the event are $5 and can be purchased online at www.rockvillemd.gov. Anyone who attends WTT Day automatically receives $5 off a bleacher ticket to the WTT first-year franchise Washington Kastles match that evening at 7 p.m. at Kastles Stadium on the corner of 11th and H streets in Washington.

The Kastles, currently undefeated after upending Philadelphia and Delaware on the road, will host Wayne Bryan’s team, the defending WTT champion Sacramento Capitals, that evening. And Kastles marquee player Serena Williams will be in the lineup.

All WTT Day proceeds will go toward the Rockville Recreation Fund, a scholarship fund that helps families participate in Rockville’s recreation programs.

‘‘The day will be a kind of introductory to World TeamTennis,” Schore said. ‘‘It’s a great format and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great avenue for people to support the newest professional team we have in town. I think they’ll have a great time at the matches and really enjoy the clinic. WTT features professionals from all around the world but I think the fact they brought a team here shows that the Washington area is one of the strongest tennis areas in the nation as far as spectatorship and involvement.”

Twelve-time grand slam singles champion Billie Jean King co-founded WTT in 1974. Its boisterous atmosphere — persistent loud music and cheering — provides the most fan-friendly environment in the sport. It’s a chance for fans to get closer to their favorite players, see them having fun.

Matches, played on a multi-colored court, consist of men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Individual matches consist of one set, played to five rather than six, without advantage scoring. And substitutes can be used.

WTT Day will feature an exhibition WTT match among some of the area’s top-ranked junior players to show participants what WTT is all about. Possible player appearances include Bullis boys’ rising junior No. 1 singles player Taylor Hairston, Northwest High rising senior No. 1 Neil Soni, Holy Cross rising senior No. 1 and three-time defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion Maria Fuccillo and Churchill girls’ No. 1 and last year’s regional champion Liz Kaufman.

The 2008 WTT season, which features 11 teams nationwide, runs from July 3-27. Championship weekend is July 24-27 in Roseville, Calif.

‘‘I think Billie Jean King came up with this format to get people in a fun way to get involved in tennis and enjoy tennis,” Schore said. ‘‘It’s much more of a crowd pleasing thing. You have a good time when viewing these matches. It’s very quick moving, very fast moving when you’re playing the matches. It’s a great way to get into the game of tennis. I think more and more people are getting into tennis and this is a great venue, to have a good team atmosphere like that.”