July 03, 2014

News Release

For Immediate Release

Springfield Lasers tennis season opens Sunday, July 6 Billie Jean King to attend opening match

The 2014 Springfield Lasers Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) home season opens Sunday, July 6, as the Lasers face the Philadelphia Freedoms. The match begins at 7 p.m. at Mediacom Tennis Stadium, in Cooper Tennis Complex, 2231 E. Pythian.

Tennis legend and Mylan WTT Co-Founder Billie Jean King plans to attend the opening match in Springfield Sunday evening. King, owner of the Philadelphia Freedoms, will visit the VIP lounge before the match and is available for a brief news conference on the north end (upper level) of Mediacom Tennis Stadium 6:30-6:40 p.m.

The Lasers enter the season as the defending Western Conference Champions. The highlight of the season comes Sunday, July 13, when Lasers marquee player James Blake faces longtime friend and rival Andy Roddick at Cooper Tennis Complex’s Mediacom Tennis Stadium.

Blake, 34, was the No. 1 American and No. 4 world player in 2006, placing him just behind Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Nikolay Davydenko. Blake is known for his powerful forehand, his speed on the court and his incredible comeback after breaking his neck in May 2004. Now returning for his eighth season of Mylan WTT, his first with the Springfield Lasers, Blake plays two Springfield Lasers home matches: Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13.

All four Lasers roster members enter the season fresh from Wimbledon, where Anna-Lena Groenefeld advanced to the quarterfinal in women’s singles, and Jean-Julien Rojer made it to the third round in men’s doubles. Last month, Groenefeld and Rojer teamed up to win the championship in mixed doubles at the French Open.

Rojer, 32, from Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, is returning for his second season with the Lasers. He earned his first Grand Slam title at the French Open, and now holds 13 doubles titles. Rojer helped lead the Lasers to the Mylan WTT 2013 Western Conference Championship, and was named Mylan WTT Male MVP in 2013.

Groenefeld, 29, from Nordhorn, Germany, plays doubles exclusively and now holds 15 doubles titles.  New this year to the Lasers roster, this is her fourth season of Mylan WTT, previously playing for the New York Sportimes.

Lasers player Michael Russell also appeared in men’s singles at Wimbledon. Russell, 35, from Detroit, Mi., was the oldest American to finish 2013 in the ATP Top 100 for the fifth year in a row. He is returning to Mylan WTT for the first time since 2009, when he was named WTT Male Rookie of the Year.

2013 Mylan WTT Female Rookie of the Year Alisa Kleybanova announced June 27 that she would not be able to return to the Lasers roster this year, due to a shoulder injury which became apparent at Wimbledon. Kleybanova helped lead the Springfield Lasers to the 2013 Mylan WTT Western Conference Championship.

Olga Govortsova, 26, from Minsk, Belarus, replaces Kleybanova on the Lasers roster. Govortsova is currently ranked No. 105 in singles, No. 87 in doubles, and appeared in singles at Wimbledon.

San Diego marquee player and former No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova also makes an appearance in Springfield Thursday, July 17.

The 2014 Springfield Lasers home schedule is:

All home matches are held at 7 p.m. at Mediacom Tennis Stadium at Cooper Tennis Complex, 2331 E. Pythian, Springfield.

For more information about the Springfield Lasers, visit springfieldlasers.com, or look for Springfield Lasers on Facebook or @SGFLasers on Twitter. For media inquiries, call Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-837-5724 or 417-224-5510.

For more information on Mylan WTT, visit wtt.com.