World TeamTennis

World TeamTennis (WTT) is a mixed-gender professional tennis league played with a team format in the United States, which was founded in 1973.

World TeamTennis
Current season, competition or edition:
2019 World TeamTennis season
SportTeam tennis
Owner(s)Fred Luddy and Eric Davidson
CEOCarlos Silva
No. of teams8
Country United States
HeadquartersRancho Santa Fe, CA, United States
Most recent
Springfield Lasers
Most titlesSacramento Capitals (6)
Washington Kastles (6)
TV partner(s)CBS
CBS Sports Network

Originally played on a no-line court, each match consists of five sets. Each set features a different configuration (men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles). Prior to each match, coaches decide the order in which the sets will be played. Each player on a team usually plays in at least one of the five sets. Scoring is no-advantage; there is no requirement to win a game by two scores; at deuce, whoever scores the next point wins the game. The first team to reach five games wins each set. A nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches four-all. One point is awarded for each game won. If necessary, extended play and a supertiebreaker are played to determine the winner of the match.

The league's season normally takes place in the summer months. Players from the ATP and WTA take a break from their tour schedules to partake in World TeamTennis.


First league

World Team Tennis (WTT) was founded in 1973 by Dennis Murphy, Dick Butera, Fred Barman, Jordan Kaiser, and attorney and promoter Larry King, each of whom organized and owned the various participating teams of the fledgling professional tennis league. Murphy had previously founded the World Hockey Association, and gave a number of WHA club owners preferential options on WTT franchises.

Charles "Chuck" Reichblum (now popularly known as "Dr. Knowledge"),[1] industrialist John H. Hillman III, and lawyer William "Bill" Sutton, who became the owners of the Pittsburgh Triangles, had, in 1972, founded the similar National Tennis League (NTL), a forerunner to WTT and Reichblum's brainchild. Founding members of WTT were reported to have been invited to join the NTL prior to formation of the competing WTT in 1973.[2][3]

In 1974, Billie Jean King began the first WTT season by securing the professional women tennis players, and Dr. Leonard Bloom, Arthur Ashe and Wilt Chamberlain, securing the professional men tennis players..

The league began play in May 1974, with George MacCall as Commissioner of the 16 teams: Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo-Toronto, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Florida (Miami), San Diego/Hawaii, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota (Minneapolis-St.Paul), New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.

The original league format included a four-colored tennis court, a 44-contest season, and teams of at least two men and two women. A match consisted of the first player or team to win five games, with a nine-point tiebreaker at four-all, and no-ad scoring in women's singles and doubles, men's singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. This made WTT the first professional sports league to grant equal status to each man and woman competing for their teams.[4]

WTT also held annual All-Star games for the seasons from 1975 to 1978. Marty Riessen (Cleveland) and Greer Stevens (Boston) won Most Valuable Players (MVP) honors for the inaugural all-star gala won by the East, 28–21, at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles. In 1976 the West All-Stars, led by Chris Evert and Betty Stöve, capped an incredible comeback when they defeated Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong in a super tiebreaker, 5–4, giving the West a stunning 28–27 overtime victory at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. After trailing at one stage by 24–17, the West, led by Stove and Dianne Fromholtz, won the final set plus two games in overtime to draw the West All-Stars even at 27.[5] Tom Okker (San Francisco) and Dianne Fromholtz (Los Angeles) won MVP honors that year. In the 1977 All Star Game held at the San Diego Sports Arena, Björn Borg (Cleveland-Pittsburgh) and Betty Stove (Seattle-Portland) captured MVP awards as the East bested the West, 23–18. WTT held its final All-Star event in Las Vegas in 1978.[6]

WTT was the first professional sports experience for Jerry Buss (eventual owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings), and for Bob Kraft (eventual owner of the NFL's New England Patriots and MLS's New England Revolution).

Elton John, a friend of Billie Jean King, wrote the hit single "Philadelphia Freedom" as a theme song for his favorite team.[7]

The first league ended play in 1978.

Second league

The league resumed play in 1981 as TeamTennis and fluctuated between four and twelve teams. In 1992, the name was changed back to World TeamTennis (WTT). In 2005, twelve teams competed.

Billie Jean King became Commissioner and major owner of the league in 1984, following her retirement from tournament tennis competition. She retired as Commissioner in February 2001 and Ilana Kloss became the new commissioner, a position she still holds. In March 2017, King sold WTT to venture capitalist Mark Ein and founder of ServiceNow Fred Luddy.

In 2013, World TeamTennis was re-branded Mylan World TeamTennis after Mylan, a generics and specialty pharmaceuticals company, announced a three-year agreement to serve as the title sponsor of WTT.[8]

In Jan 2019, Carlos Silva became the CEO and ushered in new deals with CBS and ESPN creating the largest ever audience for WTT on July 21 on CBS b’cast.

Many top tennis players have participated in the league over the years, including King, Rod Laver, Björn Borg, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Evonne Goolagong, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova,[9] Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis, John Isner, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Naomi Osaka, Frances Tiafoe and many more. Connors and Goolagong were not allowed to participate in the 1974 French Open due to their associations with WTT.[10][11] Connors' exclusion from the French Open denied him the opportunity to become the first male player since Rod Laver to win all four Major singles titles in a calendar year.




League play resumed in 1981 as TeamTennis with four California teams, expanding to eight teams in 1982. In 1985 a recreational league for non-professionals was added, which was co-branded with the professional league.


In 1992, the current name World TeamTennis was restored.

  • Minnesota Penguins, 1993
  • Idaho Sneakers, 1994–1997
  • New Jersey Stars, 1987–1995 (relocated and became the Delaware Smash)
  • Phoenix Smash, 19921994


In 2000 the current logo was adopted. In 2005 & 2006 the league consisted of 12 teams and in 2007 the Hartford FoxForce ceased operations. Prior to the 2008 season, the Houston Wranglers ceased operations and the Washington Kastles joined the league. In the 2009 season, 10 teams competed: Boston, NY Buzz, NY Sportime, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Kansas City, Newport Beach, Sacramento, Springfield, and St. Louis. Sacramento won the year-end Championship six times.

Before the start of the 2011 season the New York Buzz and the New York Sportimes merged into one New York team, the Sportimes.[14] During the 2011 season the Washington Kastles completed a perfect 16–0 schedule, winning their second championship in three seasons.

In 2012, the Washington Kastles completed their second consecutive perfect season, going 16–0 for the second season in a row to become the first professional sports franchise to go two complete seasons without a loss. Their 32-match winning streak is one shy of the major professional sports record of 33 consecutive wins set by the 1971–72 Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. They began the next season with 2 wins making their streak 34 games, setting the new record.

In 2013, World TeamTennis was renamed Mylan World TeamTennis after Mylan signed a three-year deal as the title sponsor. The Kansas City Explorers relocated to Irving, Texas, and became the Texas Wild. On November 21, 2013, the Orange County Breakers were sold, relocated to Austin, Texas and renamed the Austin Aces.[15] On January 16, 2014, the New York Sportimes were sold, relocated to San Diego and renamed the San Diego Aviators.[16] On February 4, 2014, the Sacramento Capitals were relocated to Las Vegas and renamed the Las Vegas Neon.[17] On March 5, 2014 the Las Vegas Neon franchise was terminated, leaving the league with seven teams.[18]

On February 23, 2015, WTT announced that a new ownership group had taken control of the Texas Wild and moved the team to Citrus Heights, California, renaming it the California Dream.[19]

On January 13, 2016, WTT announced that the California Dream franchise had been terminated.[20] On February 17, 2016, the Boston Lobsters had ceased operations[21] and had been replaced with a new franchise called the New York Empire.[22] On March 13, 2017, Billie Jean King announced the sale of her majority share in WTT to Mark Ein, Washington Kastles founder and owner and Fred Luddy, owner of the San Diego Aviators.[23][24]

In March 2019, the league announced its expansion to eight teams for the 2019 season, with the creation of the Orlando Storm and the Vegas Rollers.[25]

On October 23, 2019, the league announced it would be awarding a record $5 million in prize money, including an additional $1 million for the postseason, during its 45th season and would be expanding again, adding two new franchises in 2020.[26]


Team City Stadium
New York Empire New York City Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning
Orange County Breakers Newport Beach, California Palisades Tennis Club
Orlando Storm Orlando, Florida USTA National Campus
Philadelphia Freedoms Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Michael J. Hagan Arena
San Diego Aviators Carlsbad, California Omni La Costa Resort and Spa
Springfield Lasers Springfield, Missouri Mediacom Stadium at Cooper Tennis Complex
Vegas Rollers Paradise, Nevada Orleans Arena
Washington Kastles Washington, D.C. Kastles Stadium at Union Market[27]



Year Champion Runner-up Score
1974Denver RacquetsPhiladelphia Freedoms55–45
1975Pittsburgh TrianglesSan Francisco Golden Gaters74–65
1976New York SetsSan Francisco Golden Gaters91–57
1977New York ApplesPhoenix Racquets55–39
1978Los Angeles StringsBoston Lobsters108–93
1979–1980 no tournament
1981Los Angeles Stringsregular season champion, no playoffs
1982Dallas StarsPhoenix Sunsets27–22
1983Chicago FyreLos Angeles Strings26–20
1984San Diego BudsLong Beach Breakers30–13
1985San Diego BudsSt. Louis Slims25–24
1986San Antonio RacquetsSacramento Capitals25–23
1987Charlotte HeatSan Antonio Racquets25–20
1988Charlotte HeatNew Jersey Stars27–22
1989San Antonio RacquetsSacramento Capitols27–25
1990Los Angeles StringsRaleigh Edge27–16
1991Atlanta ThunderLos Angeles Strings27–16
1992Atlanta ThunderNewport Beach Dukes30–17
1993Wichita AdvantageNewport Beach Dukes26–23
1994New Jersey StarsIdaho Sneakers28–25
1995New Jersey StarsAtlanta Thunder28–20
1996St. Louis AcesDelaware Smash27–16
1997Sacramento Capitalsregular season champion, finals rained out
1998Sacramento CapitalsNew York OTBzz30–13
1999Sacramento CapitalsSpringfield Lasers23–15
2000Sacramento CapitalsDelaware Smash21–20
2001Philadelphia FreedomsSpringfield Lasers20–18
2002Sacramento CapitalsNew York Buzz21–13
2003Delaware SmashSacramento Capitals21–14
2004Newport Beach BreakersDelaware Smash23–17
2005New York SportimesNewport Beach Breakers21–18
2006Philadelphia FreedomsNewport Beach Breakers21–14
2007Sacramento CapitalsNew York Buzz24–20
2008New York BuzzKansas City Explorers21–18
2009Washington KastlesSpringfield Lasers23–20
2010Kansas City ExplorersNew York Sportimes21–18
2011Washington KastlesSt. Louis Aces23–19
2012Washington KastlesSacramento Capitals20–19
2013Washington KastlesSpringfield Lasers25–12
2014Washington KastlesSpringfield Lasers25–13
2015Washington KastlesAustin Aces24–18
2016San Diego AviatorsOrange County Breakers25–14[30]
2017Orange County BreakersSan Diego Aviators22–18[31]
2018Springfield LasersPhiladelphia Freedoms19–18[32]
2019Springfield LasersNew York Empire20–19[33]

By team

Team Titles Runner Ups Years Won Years Lost
Sacramento Capitals 6 3 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007
Washington Kastles 6 0 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Los Angeles Strings 3 1 1978, 1981, 1990
Atlanta Thunder 2 1 1991, 1992
Charlotte Heat 2 0 1987, 1988
New Jersey Stars 2 0 1994, 1995
Orange County Breakers 2 3 2004, 2017
Philadelphia Freedoms 2 2 2001, 2006
San Antonio Racquets 2 1 1986, 1989
San Diego Buds 2 0 1984, 1985
Springfield Lasers 2 5 2018, 2019
Delaware Smash 1 3
New York Apples 1 0
San Diego Aviators 1 0
New York Buzz 0 3
San Francisco Golden Gaters 0 2
Boston Lobsters 0 1
Raleigh Edge 0 1
Austin Aces 0 1

See also


Inline citations

  1. McCoy, Adrian "Person of interest: Charles Reichblum (Dr. Knowledge)", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 15, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  2. AP "Plans for Pro Tennis League", The Daily Times, Salisbury, Maryland, October 5, 1972, page 20. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  3. Shrum, Rick "Love Triangles: Pittsburgh adored its World Team Tennis franchise", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 10, 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  4. "World TeamTennis Firsts". World TeamTennis. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
  5. "Chrissie Evert in 1976 World Team Tennis All-Stars Match". chrisevertdotnet (Youtube). Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  6. "Steve Dimitry's WTT Web Page". Steve Dimitry. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  7. King, Billie Jean; Jett, Tyler (July 20, 2012). "Philadelphia Freedom: The Story behind the Song". Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  8. "World TeamTennis and Mylan Announce Three-Year Collaboration". October 16, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  9. "Sports People: Tennis – King Wants Navratilova to Finish Year". The New York Times. 1994-07-15.
  10. John Barrett, ed. (1975). World of Tennis '75. London: Queen Anne Press. pp. 15–17. ISBN 9780362002171.
  11. "Connors, Goolagong 'Can't Play'". The Palm Beach Post. May 22, 1974.
  12. "Struggling WTT Adds Three New Franchises". The San Bernardino County Sun. December 1, 1978. p. 65.
  13. "WTT:Virginia Wade". World TeamTennis. Retrieved 2009-12-17. References both "Sets" and "Apples".
  14. "New York Sportimes to Play Two WTT Matches in Albany This Summer As World Team Tennis' New York Teams Consolidate"
  15. "Mylan World TeamTennis team relocates to Austin; Andy Roddick to star on team"
  16. "Mylan World TeamTennis team headed to San Diego"
  17. "Mylan World TeamTennis team relocates franchise to Las Vegas"
  18. "League Statement on Las Vegas Franchise Termination"
  19. "Mylan World TeamTennis Returns to Sacramento Area in 2015 with California Dream". World TeamTennis. February 23, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  20. "Sacramento pro tennis team folds". The Sacramento Bee. January 13, 2016.
  21. "WTT Updates Status of Boston Lobsters". OurSportsCentral. February 17, 2016.
  22. "Mylan WTT 2016 Season Includes NYC Return, Expanded Broadcast Coverage". OurSportsCentral. February 17, 2016.
  23. "World TeamTennis co-founder Billie Jean King sells majority stake of historic league to Mark Ein and Fred Luddy". World TeamTennis. March 13, 2017.
  24. Christopher Clarey (March 13, 2017). "With a Racket in One Hand, World Team Tennis Passes a Torch With the Other". The New York Times.
  25. Bill Bradley (March 5, 2019). "Las Vegas gains franchise in World Team Tennis league". Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  26. Baseline Staff (October 23, 2019). "WTT Adds $1 Million In Playoffs Prize Money For 2020". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  28. "WTT History". World TeamTennis. Retrieved 2018-08-03.
  29. "Steve Dimitry's WTT Web Page". source data for 1981-2004. tennis-reference. Archived from the original on 2005-02-22. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  30. "Mylan World TeamTennis". Archived from the original on 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
  31. "Breakers Top Aviators 22-18 To Win 2017 Mylan WTT Title". Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  32. "Lasers Claim First WTT Championship In Dramatic Final". World TeamTennis. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  33. "Hometown Boy Evan Song of Vegas Helps Springfield Lasers Repeat As Champions". World TeamTennis. Retrieved 2019-08-04.

General references

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