Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘World Team Tennis’ Category

1987-1995 New Jersey Stars

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1987 New Jersey Stars ProgramWorld TeamTennis (1987-1995)

Born: 1987
Died: 1995

Venues:

Team Colors: Blue & Gold

Owner: Larry Rosenthal

WTT Champions: 1994 and 1995

 

Long-running franchise in the co-ed summer World TeamTennis league.  The New Jersey Stars won the league championship during their final two seasons of play.

Martina Navratilova was the team’s top attraction during the 1994 championship campaign. The Czech superstar moonlighted in TeamTennis habitually throughout her career, starting soon after her defection to the United States in 1975.

 

==Links==

World TeamTennis Media Guides

World TeamTennis Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

April 28th, 2016 at 7:27 pm

1987-1991 Charlotte Heat

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World TeamTennis (1987-1991)

Born: 1987
Folded: 1991

Venue: Old Providence Racquet Club

Team Colors: Blue and Orange

Owner: Robert Benson

TeamTennis Champions: 1987 and 1988

 

The Charlotte Heat were a co-ed professional tennis club that competed in Billie Jean King’s summertime TeamTennis promotion for five seasons between 1987 and 1991.  The Heat won the league championship in each of their first two seasons of play.

Team owner Bob Benson previously owned the Carolina Lightnin’ (1981-1983), Charlotte’s first foray into professional soccer, during the early 1980’s.

 

==Links==

World TeamTennis Media Guides

World TeamTennis Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

April 28th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

2014-2015 Austin Aces

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Austin AcesWorld Team Tennis (2014-2015)

Born: November 2013 – The Orange County Breakers relocate to Austin, TX.
Moved: December 2015 (Orange County Breakers)

Venues:

Team Colors: Red, Black, Blue, Yellow & White

Owner: Lorne Abony

WTT Championships: None

 

The Austin Aces were a co-ed World TeamTennis squad that had a brief run in the Texas state capital in 2014 and 2015. Tech entrepreneur Lorne Abony purchased WTT’s Orange County Breakers franchise in late 2013 and arranged to move the team to Austin.

The Aces’ top attractions in 2014 were Austin-native and former World No. 1 men’s player Andy Roddick and 2013 Wimbledon women’s singles champion Marion Bartoli. The Aces played seven home matches at the indoor Cedar Park Center near Austin in 2014.

The Aces returned in 2015 without Roddick or Bartoli and at a new venue – Gregory Gym on the campus of the University of Texas.  What Austin now lacked in starpower, they made up in wins as the Aces had the best record (12-2) in the 2015 World TeamTennis regular season. The team lost to the Washington Kastles in the WTT Championship Match on August 2, 2015.

Attendance dropped during the Aces’ second and final season in Austin. In December 2015 the team announced it would return to its old home in Newport Beach, California and take back its former Orange County Breakers identity for the 2016 season.

 

==YouTube==

2014 Austin Aces promotional video:

 

Austin Aces vs. Springfield Lasers at Cedar Park Center, July 2014:

==Downloads==

2014 World Team Tennis Media Guide

 

==Links==

World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs

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Written by AC

December 21st, 2015 at 7:30 pm

1978 Anaheim Oranges

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1977 Anaheim Oranges Pocket ScheduleWorld Team Tennis (1978)

Born: December 6, 1977 – WTT expansion franchise.
Folded: Postseason 1978

Arena: Anaheim Convention Center

Team Colors:

Owners: Dr. Jerry Buss, Frank Mariani & Billie Jean King

WTT Championships: None

 

The Anaheim Oranges were an expansion franchise during the final season of World Team Tennis in 1978.  Anaheim received a full-fledged franchise of its own after the Anaheim Convention Center hosted 10 league contests as a neutral site in 1977.

The Oranges were owned by Dr. Jerry Buss and his business partner Frank Mariani, who also backed the league’s other Southern California franchises, the Los Angeles Strings and San Diego Friars.  Tennis superstar and league co-founder Billie Jean King reportedly owned 29 percent of the franchise, though she played for the rival New York Apples team in 1978.

World Team Tennis was a co-ed league and featured top touring pros from all over the world who played in the league during breaks between Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and other summer tournaments.  Key players for the ’78 Oranges included Rosie Casals, Cliff Drysdale and 15-year old Tracy Austin, who appeared in three matches for Anaheim as an unpaid amateur.

The franchise folded along with the rest of the World Team Tennis organization in late 1978. Billie Jean King revived a lower-budget version of the league in 1981 and a re-boot of the Oranges (the “California Oranges”) returned to the Anaheim Convention Center that summer. The new Oranges lasted from 1981 to 1983 before fading into history.

 

==Anaheim Oranges Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1978

1978 8/1/1978 vs. Los Angeles Strings  L 31-21 Program

==Links==

World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs

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1974-1978 Golden Gaters

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Frew McMillan Golden GatersWorld Team Tennis (1974-1978)

Born: 1973 – WTT founding franchise
Folded: March 1979

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

WTT Championships: None

 

The Golden Gaters tennis team was the Bay Area franchise in the co-ed World Team Tennis league of the mid-1970’s.  Of the league’s original 16 franchises that debuted in 1974, the Golden Gaters were one of just two that remained standing in its original city when the league played its final season in 1978. (The Los Angeles Strings were the other).

The league considered the Golden Gaters to be its “San Francisco” franchise, but the team played nearly all of its matches in blue-collar Oakland.  The exception came in 1975, when the Gaters played a handful of playoff dates at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

World Team Tennis packaged tennis as a co-ed team sport played in major hockey arenas across the United States.  Each contest consisted of five matches: a single set of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.  Each game won equated to a point and cumulative team points determined the winner.  The league also dispensed with the stuffy decorum expected on the pro tour.  Loud cheering, rock music and cornball promotions were welcomed in World Team Tennis, often to the shock and befuddlement of the European tour pros who filled the league’s rosters.

The importance of the doubles game to WTT’s scoring system meant that the league attracted a lot of doubles specialists.  South African star Frew McMillan, a doubles champion at Wimbledon, the French Open and the U.S. Open, served as the Golden Gaters player-coach for all five seasons of play.  McMillan would earn WTT Coach-of-the-Year honors in 1975. He was also named the league’s Male Most Valuable Player in 1977 and 1978.

Dutch stars Tom Okker and Betty Stove joined the Gaters in 1975 and helped the team to the first of two straight appearances in the WTT Championship Series.  The Golden Gaters lost in the finals to the Pittsburgh Triangles in 1975 and to the New York Sets in 1976.

Following the 1978 season, the league suffered a crisis of confidence among its investors. Consequently, eight of the ten franchises folded in October and November of 1978.  The Golden Gaters and the Phoenix Racquets hoped to soldier on.  But with just two active clubs remaining, World Team Tennis bowed to reality and shut its doors in March 1979.

World Team Tennis re-booted on a more modest scale in 1981 and returned to Oakland.  But neither the Oakland Breakers (1981-1982) nor the Oakland Aces (1985-1986) managed to rekindle any enthusiasm for the Team Tennis concept. Both clubs evaporated after just a handful of dates at the Coliseum Arena.

 

Golden Gaters Memorabilia

 

Links

World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs

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