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Kastles Season Ends in Boston

2010 Washington Kastles by Max Cook

It was looking like the Washington Kastles were headed to the World TeamTennis playoffs again to defend last year’s championship title, however with a 24-15 loss in Boston last night, their season has come to an end.  Had they beaten the Lobsters, they would be battling the New York Sportimes in the conference championship, a rematch of last year’s playoffs.  Those fans who purchased tickets for the potential championship match tonight are entitled to a refund.

Congratulations to the Kastles for another hard-fought, fun month of tennis.  Fans were treated to the amazing talents of Venus Williams, Leander Paes, Rennae Stubbs, Bobby Reynolds, Angela Haynes, and Victoria Azarenka, not to mention opponents including John McEnroe, Martina Hingis, and Anna Kournikova.  Best of luck to those who are headed to the US Open later this summer.

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Kastles Announce 2010 Ticket Sales

Mark Ein, Adrian Fenty, Jack Evans by Max Cook

The Washington Kastles, defending World TeamTennis champions, announced at a press conference today that all individual and season tickets are now available for their 2010 season.  In attendance were Mayor Adrian Fenty, Councilman Jack Evans, team owner Mark Ein, and returning coach Murphy Jensen.  Tickets for individual matches can be purchased on their website or on TicketMaster, while season tickets can be purchased by calling 202-4-TENNIS.

The upcoming season in July promises to be another exciting time for tennis fans, with the return of coach Murphy “Refuse to Lose” Jensen and the addition of Venus Williams to the team.  Also returning this year are her sister Serena Williams and doubles dynamos, Leander Paes and Rennae Stubbs. “With the talent on this veteran roster, we should win it all again,” said Jensen. “I know I speak for the entire team when I say that last season was one of the best experiences of our careers and we’re coming back to repeat as champions.” Continue reading

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Kastles Fill Roster on WTT Draft Day

WTT King Trophy by Max Cook

Today the Washington Kastles filled out their roster for the 2010 season on World TeamTennis Draft Day.  With an impressive team headlined by the Williams sisters, repeating as WTT champions looks entirely possible.  The Kastles traded for the first overall pick in today’s draft, welcoming doubles masters Leander Paes and Rennae Stubbs back to the team.  The roster is rounded out by Bobby Reynolds and Angela Haynes (we’ll miss you “Boom Boom” and “Puchy”).  And last but certainly not least, coach Murphy Jensen will be back for a second year to fire up the players and entertain the crowd.

This season’s schedule is now online and packed with incredible matches featuring Martina Hingis, John McEnroe, and of course, Anna Kournikova.

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Kastles: Now With More Williams!

Venus Williams by Max Cook

As if having the world’s #1 women’s tennis player on our team wasn’t enough, the Washington Kastles have added the #5 player as well.  That’s right, both Serena and Venus Williams will be playing for the Kastles this season almost assuring another successful run at the World TeamTennis Championship.  With arguably the best sibling duo in tennis history, the Kastles roster now boasts a combined 61 Grand Slam titles.

In other exciting news for Kastles fans, coach Murphy Jensen will be back again to see if lighting can strike twice.  “It takes world-class talent to win championships and there are no more accomplished athletes than Serena and Venus,” said Murphy, “Last summer was truly a dream season for us, and come July 5, the dream continues in DC.”

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Kastles To Receive Key to the City

2009 WTT Champions by Max Cook

To honor the 2009 World TeamTennis Champion Washington Kastles, Mayor Fenty will be presenting the team with the Key to the City next Thursday, August 27th at 11am.  The ceremony will be held on the steps of the Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW.  The first 300 fans will receive a free Kastles WTT Championship t-shirt so be sure to get there early if you’re in the market for free stuff.  The entire Kastles team will be there including Murphy Jensen, Leander Paes, Rennae Stubbs, Scott Oudsema, and Olga Puchkova.  After the ceremony there will be a fan appreciation event across the street at Freedom Plaza with food and drinks, giving you a chance to catch up with the players and to give them high fives and such.  Can I get a “whooooaaaa Kastles”?!

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Kastles Win WTT Championship

2009 WTT Champions by Max Cook

In what can only be described as a miraculous weekend of tennis, the Washington Kastles pulled off two huge wins against the New York Sportimes and the Springfield Lasers to become the 2009 World TeamTennis Champions.  Both matches were no easy feat for the Kastles with the match point coming down to the very end.  Just when things could easily go in the other team’s favor, the Kastles stepped up their game and pulled through.  Both matches were a blast for Kastles fans and made for some amazing tennis.

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Kastles Make Playoffs

Kastles Cheerleaders by Max Cook

The Washington Kastles lived up to their motto “Refuse to Lose” last night by destroying the Springfield Lasers, 21-14.  With playoff hopes on the line, the Kastles (7-7) needed to bring their A game to beat the Lasers (12-2) who have already clinched the top seed in the Western Conference championship.

The first three sets looked like child’s play for the Kastles.  In men’s doubles, Scott Oudsema and Leander Paes easily beat Martin Damm and Raven Klaasen 5-2 thanks to some powerful serves and amazing net work by Paes.  The doubles duo has really found their rhythm and become a force to reckon with.

Next up in women’s singles, newly acquired Nadia Petrova showed the Lasers’ Vania King why she’s the #10 ranked women’s singles player in the world, not in World TeamTennis.  King showed finesse and put up a good fight by tying Petrova at three games each, but the Russian put the smack down by serving three aces, winning some amazing vollies, and winning the set 5-3.

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Kastles Are Buzzkillers

Nadia Petrova by Max Cook

Last night the Washington Kastles (6-7), with the help of their new teammate Nadia Petrova, made easy work of the New York Buzz (4-9).  The relatively effortless 23-12 win put them one game closer to the Eastern Conference Finals which will be held here in DC on Friday if the Kastles make the cut.  In order to make it to the conference finals they have to win their match tonight against the Springfield Lasers (12-1) or the Boston Lobsters have to lose their match against the New York Buzz.  In other words, we’re in a tight spot.

Petrova, listed at 5’10”, must have grown a few inches since being measured.  Currently ranked #10 in the world, the powerful Russian is easily six feet tall and posted an impressive 15-3 record during her three sets last night.  Her addition to the Kastles roster may be just what they need in order to beat the one loss Lasers tonight.  Win or lose, it should be another incredible night of DC tennis.  Tickets to tonight’s match are still available.

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Kastles Hit Homestretch

DC Tennis by Max Cook

The Washington Kastles, now 5-6, head into the end of their season this week.  Currently in second place in the Eastern Conference, they have their work cut out for them to maintain their position.  They’ve got three tough matches coming up, two of which are against the undefeated Springfield Lasers.  To help their playoff chances the Kastles have signed Nadia Petrova, currently ranked #10 in the world.  It remains to be seen who she will replace or if she will have doubles chemistry with either Rennae Stubbs or Olga Puchkova.

Securing wins in two of the final three matches will earn them a spot in the Eastern Conference Final against the 9-3 Sportimes who they played last week.  Should they lose two matches they will need the help from the Boston Lobsters and the Philadelphia Freedoms.  If the Kastles advance to the finals it will be played here in DC, a rematch you surely won’t want to miss.

While Washington clearly has the best fans in World TeamTennis, seats are still available for this week’s matches so buy your tickets now.

Sports Fix

McEnroe Brings Controversy and Defeat

photography by Max Cook

In the press conference prior to last night’s World TeamTennis match between the Washington Kastles and the New York Sportimes, John McEnroe was calm, cool, and collected.  Some might say he even seemed bored.  The fifty year old retired tennis legend, once ranked number one in the world and known for his fiery temper, sat emotionless as he answered questions he’s no doubt heard countless times before.  When asked whether he now considers himself an entertainer or an athlete he said, “A little bit of both.  I think people come here expecting me to get angry and yell at someone.”  You think?  The Kastles banked on it and played a video compilation of vintage McEnroe outbursts (“You have GOT to be kidding me!”) on the big screen no less than ten times throughout the evening.  Would McEnroe remain emotionless or would the crowd see the explosion they were hoping for?  With the Sportimes leading the Kastles by two games in the Eastern Conference, there was a lot riding on the line for the night’s match. Continue reading

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Kastles Host McEnroe Tonight

John McEnroe by Max Cook

Tuesday night was a special night for Kastles fans, or more accurately, for Serena Williams fans.  In front of a record sold out crowd, Williams and the Kastles made the Newport Beach Breakers look like a high school JV team.  While Scott Oudsema and Leander Paes lost the opening men’s doubles set, the Kastles quickly recovered, winning 22-12.

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Kastles Remain Winless

Olga Puchkova by Max Cook

Despite a strong start in mixed doubles and a big women’s singles win by Olga Puchkova, the Washington Kastles were defeated last night by the St Louis Aces.  The Aces may have actually benefited from the loss of their marquee player, Anna Kournikova, who is out for the season with a wrist injury.  While she was once ranked eighth in the world in singles and first in doubles, her tennis career has been seriously curtailed in recent years due to injuries.  She still draws quite a crowd and finds time to do charity work including yesterday’s Bloomberg Kids Tennis Clinic.

While the Kastles remain winless at 0-4, there is still hope.  If Puchkova works on her doubles game with Rennae Stubbs and the team reduces their double faults and improves their break point conversions, they stand a good chance of winning.  The players need to get fired up and start living up their motto, “refuse to lose”.

The Kastles play again at home on Sunday against the New York Buzz, so buy a ticket and hope for a win!

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Kastles Lose Home Opener

Venus Williams by Max Cook

It was a beautiful night for tennis at Kastles Stadium, but despite a valiant effort in overtime, the Washington Kastles were handed a loss in front of a sold out crowd by Venus Williams and the Philadelphia Freedoms.  The match started out strong for Washington when Scott “Boom Boom” Oudsema took on Nathan Healey in men’s singles, but the final point went to Healey whose serve was too much for Oudsema to handle.  The Kastles struggled with basics like double faults and return serves throughout the rest of the match, ending with a 23-16 loss.

Those who went to the match to see Venus play weren’t disappointed as she showed off her powerful serve in women’s singles, mixed doubles, and women’s doubles.  It was amazing that Williams, along with Washington’s Rennae Stubbs and Leander Paes, could play at such a high level after competing in the Wimbledon Finals last weekend.

The Kastles get a chance to secure their first win tonight against the St Louis Aces and Anna Kournikova.  I’ll say that again in case you missed it.  Anna Kournikova.  Buy your tickets now!

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Kastles Broker Blockbuster Deal

Rennae Stubbs by sufw

They might as well give the Washington Kastles the WTT title right now.  In what appears to be an incredible trade with the Sacramento Capitals, the Kastles are sending Angela Haynes and CoCo Vandeweghe in exchange for Rennae Stubbs and Olga Puchkova.

Stubbs is ranked in the top ten in world doubles, is a former number one ranked doubles player, has won 59 career WTA titles, and was last year’s World TeamTennis MVP.

Puchkova was ranked #32 in the world in singles in 2007, and oh, she’s also a professional model represented by Elite Management.  That’s a real bummer, right guys?

So what does this mean?  The Kastles now have 36 Grand Slam titles among their five players and head coach.  This is one lean, mean, tennis machine.  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they win this year’s WTT title, hosted right here in DC.  If you haven’t bought your tickets, now is the time!  The home opener is next Tuesday, July 7th vs Venus Williams and the Philadelphia Freedoms.

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The New King of the Kastles

Murphy Jensen by Max

The inaugural season of the Washington Kastles, DC’s very own World TeamTennis team, was wildly successful, selling 94% of their seats and all of their boxes, an amazing feat by any standards.  In response to this great demand, their second season proves to be even bigger and better.  The Kastles Stadium (currently under construction) will again be located in the heart of downtown on the corner of 11th & H Streets NW, will be expanded to nearly 3,000 seats, and will also host an additional “marquee player game” as well as the WTT Championship Finals.  The icing on the cake however is the addition of their new head coach, ex pro and TV personality, Murphy Jensen.

I had a chance to sit down with Jensen to discuss what he hopes to bring to the team this season.  If you know anything about Murphy and his exuberant, gung ho personality, it may come as no surprise that interviewing him was like herding cats.  Cats on a Red Bull diet.  What I’d imagined to be a well executed, fifteen minute set of questions and answers, turned into an hour long chat with one of the most high energy individuals I’ve ever met.  During our conversation we covered topics ranging from his excitement to be a part of the Kastles, his comedy travel show Murphy’s Guide,  his advice on shaving your head, the first time he drove a Porsche, playing tennis with “41”, and of course what he loves about DC.  Many of his responses were as if they came from a politician in that they were long-winded and never really answered my question, but in the end I left the Kastles office thinking to myself, “That is one awesome dude.”

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Life in the Capital, Sports Fix, The District

Kastles Trump Aces After Rain Delay

Anna Kournikova by Max Cook

The Washington Kastles ended their regular season last night with a 22-17 win over the Western Conference’s last place St Louis Aces. Unfortunately, a beautiful night of tennis turned into quite a rainstorm. The sold out crowd was invited to stay dry in the VIP tent in hopes that the rain would pass, but as soon as the storm got worse and the tent started flooding, team owner Mark Ein made the call to move the match to the East Potomac Tennis Center at Hains Point. Once play resumed, sets of mixed doubles and women’s doubles were split between the two teams, forcing the match into overtime which was won by the Washington-Jones women’s duo.

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Only Two Kastles Games Left!

Sacha Jones

Sacha Jones by Max Cook

While the Washington Kastles lost their match yesterday (23-19) against the Philadelphia Freedoms, they played their hearts out until the bitter end. Thanks to an intense women’s singles effort by Sacha Jones, the game went into overtime where she was quickly defeated by Audra Cohen, 1-0.

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Washington Kastles Stop ‘Big Mac’

Mashona Washington

Mashona Washington by Max Cook

In a dramatic come-from-behind victory, the Washington Kastles showed John McEnroe and the New York Sportimes that they are not to be messed with on their home court. What started out looking like an easy New York win, the match became a slug fest that came down to a women’s doubles “Supertiebreaker”. Mashona Washington and Sacha Jones out dueled Milagros Sequera and Hana Sromova, beating them 7 to 5 and giving the Kastles an 18-17 win.

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