July 06, 2012

News Release

For Immediate Release

Springfield Lasers Season Opens July 9

The Springfield Lasers face the Kansas City Explorers Monday, July 9, on opening day of the 2012 World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League season. Monday's opening match begins at 7:05 p.m. at Mediacom Tennis Stadium, in Cooper Tennis Complex, 2231 E. Pythian.

Every member of the media MUST be credentialed to enter Cooper Tennis Complex during Springfield Lasers matches. Media credentialing takes place Monday, July 9, 3-5 p.m. at Cooper's main desk. If your organization is not able to pick up credentials at this time, please call Jenny Fillmer Edwards at 417-874-2176 or 417-224-5510 for special arrangements.

Each year after Wimbledon, WTT takes center stages in professional tennis, with some of the world's best men and women playing singles, doubles and mixed doubles in an exciting and unique format.

"Right on the heels of the Wimbledon Championships, the WTT Pro League brings world class tennis right here to our own back yard," said Bob Belote, Lasers Ownership Representative and Director of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. "As exciting as it is to watch professional tennis on TV, it's even more thrilling to see it in person. And Springfield Lasers matches are fun. It's a fast-paced, action-filled environment, and the audience is welcome to cheer out loud for the home team."

Each WTT match includes five events: men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles. Tickets start at $10 and are available at Cooper Tennis Complex, 2331 E. Pythian, 417-837-5800, or visit springfieldlasers.com.

The Springfield Lasers home season includes a special marquee visit from former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport. The Olympic gold medalist and three-time Grand Slam singles champion last made an appearance at a Lasers home match in 2010. She returns to Springfield Monday, July 16, with the Orange County Breakers.

Former No. 1 Tracy Austin hosts a tennis clinic for advanced players 16 and older Thursday, July 19, at 11 a.m. with lunch to follow. Call Cooper Sports Complex for details at 417-837-5700. Austin will also be available for autographs at the match that evening and will take part in a special halftime demonstration. Austin won the women's singles title at the US Open in 1979 and 1981 and the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon in 1980.

The Springfield Lasers complete season schedule includes (home matches in bold):

All matches begin at 7:50 p.m.

The 2012 Springfield Lasers roster includes:

Coach John-Laffine de Jager – Three-time WTT coach of the year "JL" de Jager returns for his sixth season as coach of the Springfield Lasers and his 13th season with WTT, including seven years playing. He is currently the captain of the South African Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams and the founder of JL's Kids, a program that assists with bringing sports to children in South Africa.

He played the Davis Cup for South Africa, was an Olympic doubles semifinalist at the 2000 Sydney Games and won seven ATP Tour doubles titles.

Women

Timea Babos – Entering her first season of WTT on the heels of her first Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour title in Mexico's Monterrey Open, Babos achieved her career-high singles ranking of No. 68 inFebruary. She has won nine International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles and nine ITF doubles titles, and earned junior doubles titles at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. She recently competed in singles and doubles at Wimbledon. This 19-year-old Hungarian player is currently ranked No. 69 in singles and No. 82 in doubles.

Maria Sanchez – Now in her second season of WTT, Sanchez replaced Lindsey Davenport with the St. Louis Aces for much of the 2011 season. Thisyear, Sanchez has won ITF doubles titles in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. and Surprise, Ariz., and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Singles Championship. She was California's top-ranked female coming out of high school, and has played four years for the University of Southern California. At age 22, Sanchez is ranked No. 225 in singles and No. 138 in doubles.

Men

Amir Weintraub – On the ATP world tour, Weintraub has already won the Israel F3 Futures title and competed in Australian Open qualifying this year. In 2011, he defeated then-No. 31 Milos Raonic in Davis Cup play. He reached his career-high singles ranking of No. 170 in October 2011. His career includes seven ITF Pro singles and 11 doubles titles. Weintraub, 25, is now ranked No. 175 in singles and No. 372 in doubles. This will be his first WTT season. He lives in Israel.

Devin Britton – Reached his career-high rankings on June 25. He reached the US Open junior singles final in 2008 and Wimbledon juniors semifinals in 2009. This will be Britton's first WTT season, although he participated in Smash Hits in 2009 — the same year he became the youngest NCAA singles champion, as a freshman at the University of Mississippi. He tweets regularly as @devinbritton. Now age 21, Britton is No. 441 in singles and career-high No. 232 in doubles.

Complete bios and stats on all Springfield Lasers team members may be found at www.wtt.com, www.itftennis.com, www.wtatennis.com (women) or www.atpworldtour.com (men.)

For media inquiries, call Bob Belote, Lasers Ownership Representative, at 417-864-1049; Tom Adams, Springfield Lasers General Manager, at 417-864-1339 or 417-766-1894; or Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2176 or 417-224-5510.