The New York Empire return to Queens for a second season of Mylan World TeamTennis with a matchup Sunday, July 16 against the Philadelphia Freedoms at 5pm.
New Home and a New Coach
The NY Empire will call Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center home for the 2017 season. To continue the positive transformations, New York has also brought in a wealth of experience with its new coach, 17-time Grand Slam champion Gigi Fernandez. Fernandez, the only female coach in WTT, has high hopes in her first season.“We have a team with the potential to win the league,” Fernandez said. “That’s our goal.”
John Isner Leads the Way for the Opener
The Empire will feature big-serving American John Isner as its marquee player for the opener. The former Georgia Bulldog brings more than 10 years of professional experience to the team, highlighted by trips to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open and the Olympics, as well as a Hopman Cup victory in 2011.
Neal Skupski and Marcus Willis Return From Wimbledon Doubles Runs
The Empire’s British duo each made the most of their weeks at the All-England Club — having career-best Grand Slams in the men’s doubles draw with Willis advancing to the third round and Skupski advancing to the quarterfinals. Skupski and Willis hopes to continue their recent success with each other after combining to play several men’s doubles sets as a pair for the Empire last season.
Accomplished Veterans Take the Court for New York
2013 Wimbledon women’s singles semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens and former ITA collegiate No. 1 Maria Sanchez add to the Empire roster. Flipkens, a 2016 Olympian representing Belgium, enters her first season in WTT, while Sanchez enters her fourth year in the league and first since playing for the Boston Lobsters in 2015.
The Philadelphia Freedoms have been part of World TeamTennis since its inception in 1974, claiming the King Trophy in 2001 and 2006. Last season against the Empire, Philadelphia won both matchups in tight fashion, taking the opener 22-19 after extended play and prevailing in a super-tiebreak for a 17-16 victory. On Sunday, the Freedoms will feature 2013 Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens, as well as 2017 French Open doubles finalist Donald Young.
John Isner vs. Donald Young: New York and Philadelphia’s marquee players figure to square off in the men’s singles set. They’ve never met in WTT play, but have played each other four times on the ATP Tour with Isner winning three of those bouts. Young took the most recent meeting, winning a third-set tiebreak to advance to the Memphis Open semifinals.
New York heads out on a two game road trip for the second of a home-and-home with Philadelphia on Monday and its first meeting with the six-time King Trophy Champion Washington Kastles.
The Empire is back at home on Wednesday, July 19 for a rubber match with the Freedoms at 7pm.