For Immediate Release
Lasers Draft #1 Women's Doubles Player
The Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League completed its 2009 Professional League Players Draft at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Fla., earlier today. The Springfield Lasers, under the draft direction of General Manager, Tom Adams, are excited to select the World's #1 female doubles player, Liezel Huber, to join the Lasers team for the 2009 season. Other Lasers selected at today's draft include returnee, Chani Scheepers, as well as talented newcomers Martin Damm, Vania King and Raven Klaasen. Team roster bios are listed as follows:
1st Round Pick (Roster Exempt Draft): Liezel Huber - World's #1 females doubles player (with Cara Black). Huber will play seven matches for the Lasers beginning July 15. She has won 36 career doubles titles, with two wins in 2009 (Dubai, Paris). Fed Cup and Olympic team player for native country of South Africa; Career earnings to date of $3,415,828.
1st Round Pick (Roster Draft): Vania King - One of the rising young American stars on the WTA Tour at 20 years of age. King has won seven WTA doubles titles, including one earlier in 2009 (Brisbane), and one WTA singles title. She reached quarterfinals at Monterrey tour stop earlier this year. King is currently ranked #101 in women's singles (career-high of 50 in '06) and #27 in women's doubles.
3rd Round Pick (Roster Draft): Chani Scheepers – Scheepers is the popular returning member of 2008 Lasers team. She has won 18 ITF tournaments (10 singles titles; 8 doubles titles) and has career-high rankings of #147 in women's singles and #132 in women’s doubles. Scheepers is a South African native.
Complete bios on Huber, King and Scheepers can be found at: www.wtatour.com.
2rd Round Pick (Roster Draft): Martin Damm – One of the most accomplished doubles players on the Men's ATP Tour, he has 39 career ATP doubles titles (primarily with Leander Paes) and was a doubles finalist in five Grand Slam events. Damm had a career-high of #5 in men's doubles in 2007. He is currently ranked #33 in the world. Damm’s career earnings total $5,525,667 and he is a native of Czechoslovakia.
4th Round Pick (Roster Draft): Raven Klaasen – Klaasen played for Coach de Jager on the South African Davis Cup Team. He is a strong men's singles player,- currently ranked #338, and is a 26-year old South African native.
Complete bios on Damm and Klaasen can be found at: www.atptennis.com.
Returning Lasers Coach
John-Laffnie (J.L.) de Jager – Coach de Jager returns for his third year as the Lasers’ coach. He was WTT Coach of the Year for the 2007 season; is the current captain (and former player) of the South African Davis Cup team; he coached Wes Moodie and Stephan Huss to Wimbledon Doubles title (2005); he’s a former ATP player with seven career doubles titles; he has his highest doubles ranking of #4 in world; was a doubles finalist at U.S., Australian and French Opens; and was a former WTT player.
Complete bio on Coach de Jager can be found at: www.atptennis.com.
“We feel that this is one of the very best drafts the Lasers have ever had,” said team owner, John Cooper. “We're extremely excited to have the World's #1 Doubles Player, Liezel Huber, joining our team as a Springfield Laser. Having her team-up with one of the strongest doubles players on the Men's Tour, Martin Damm, should make for some very powerful tennis for our Laser fans. There's also no question that Vania King is one of the brightest and most versatile young American stars on the WTA Tour and should work well with returnee Chani Scheepers and newcomer Raven Klaasen to make us one of the teams to watch for the upcoming season.”
The Springfield Lasers open the 2009 WTT season at home on July 2nd against the Philadelphia Freedoms. Ten pro teams will be competing for the 2009 King Trophy over the duration of the upcoming WTT season, which is scheduled for July 2-26. All seven Lasers home matches will again be played in the Mediacom Tennis Stadium at the Cooper Tennis Complex, located at 2331 E. Pythian St.
Another highlight for the 2009 season will be the July 10 match against the St. Louis Aces, where the Lasers will welcome WTT marquee player and fan favorite, Anna Kournikova, to Springfield for the very first time. For ticket information, contact the Lasers Ticket Office at (417) 837-5800.
For more information, media contact: Tom Adams, Springfield Lasers General Manager, (417) 766-1894; Bob Belote, Lasers Ownership Representative, (417) 880-4384; or Bob Nelson, Parks Public Information Administrator, (417) 839-2005.