This season, the New York Sportimes will split their 2013 Mylan World TeamTennis season between two New York home courts, Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island and the SEFCU Arena at University at Albany, N.Y. The two home matches at Sportime Stadium will be played July 22 as the Sportimes face the Texas Wild, and the following night on July 23 as the Sportimes face the Washington Kastles led by former Sportimes star, Martina Hingis.
On Monday, July 22, former world number ones, Davis Cup standouts and International Tennis Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Jim Courier will battle it out on the Sportime Stadium hard court on as the Sportimes take on the Texas Wild. The annual night benefiting the Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) will also feature fellow Hall of Famer and Mylan WTT Co-Founder Billie Jean King in celebration of the 40th anniversary year of her historic matchup with Bobby Riggs in the famed "Battle of the Sexes."
"Jim Courier has meant so much to American tennis, and we couldn't be more pleased that he and the Texas Wild will be the opponent for this special night," said Sportime Clubs and New York Sportimes CEO Claude Okin. "To have two of our country's all-time premier players and tennis ambassadors in Jim and in our own Captain and leader, John McEnroe, will make for a very competitive and entertaining evening, but most importantly will ultimately help so many children in New York."
JMTP scholarship recipients attend the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is completing its third year at Sportime Randall's Island.
"The JMTP Benefit night is a highlight of the year for me and for the Johnny Mac Tennis Project," said McEnroe. "My commitment is stronger than ever to the youth of New York, and just as Bjorn and Andre helped make the evening special in years past, getting to compete against Jim again will, I hope, pump people up about American tennis—past and future."
The night will also be part of a year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the "Battle of the Sexes" match between King and Riggs, which took place in Houston on Sept. 20, 1973. The spectacle, won by King in straight sets, is often cited as a turning point towards females earning equality in many aspects of American life.
"I am honored and excited to be participating in this benefit, and to help John do what he is doing in his home town of New York City," said Courier. "I live in NYC and I practice at Sportime so I see what John and his Academy are accomplishing there. I wanted to do my part to support John's efforts in furthering the development of American tennis and young players in NYC."
Ticket prices for the July 22 match will be $75, $150 and $300, with additional special VIP packages also available; please consult your tax advisor concerning the tax deductibility of ticket and package purchases. Tickets for the JMTP benefit night on July 22 and for the NY Sportimes home match vs. the Washington Kastles at Randall's Island on July 23 can be purchased by calling (888) WTT-NYC1 or by visiting www.nysportimes.com.
The July 23 match is also benefiting JMTP and features former Sportime, and soon-to-be enshrined International Hall of Fame inductee, Martina Hingis, playing for Washington. Those purchasing tickets to the July 22 match may elect to receive a ticket to the following night's match for $1.
Meet the 2013 New York Sportimes
Coach Claude Okin
Claude Okin serves as chief executive officer of Sportime Clubs. Claude provides leadership and vision for all Sportime corporate directives by supervising the director of operations and executive management team, while managing relationships with Sportime's partners and funding sources. This season he will lead the New York Sportimes during their 2013 World TeamTennis campaign.
John McEnroe is a former world number one who won seven Grand Slam singles titles (three at Wimbledon and four at the U.S. Open), nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed-doubles title. McEnroe also won a record eight season ending championships, comprising five WCT Finals titles and three Masters Grand Prix titles from 12 final appearances at those two events, a record he shares with Ivan Lendl. Additionally, McEnroe is a former junior Grand Slam champion. During his career, McEnroe is listed to have won 77 singles titles by the ATP.
Anna-Lena Groenefeld is a former top-15 singles player currently ranked 19th in the world in doubles. The Sportimes acquired the rights to Groenefeld, who played for Orange County last year, then selected her in the third round. She ranked as high as 14th in the world in singles in 2006, finishing the year at 19th and winning a championship at Acapulco. In her career, Groenefeld has had two semifinal and five quarterfinal singles appearances. Groenefeld has won 11 WTA doubles crowns and has reached 14 other finals, including three in 2012. She has one career Grand Slam win, in mixed-doubles at Wimbledon in 2009 with Mark Knowles.
Kveta Peschke, who served as a substitute for the Sportimes in last year’s WTT finals weekend, has won 23 career WTA doubles titles and was a member of the 2011 Fed Cup team representing her native Czech Republic. Her most recent doubles championship was at Sydney in 2012. She has one Grand Slam title, taking the 2011 doubles at Wimbledon with partner Katarina Srebotnik, and has one career WTA singles crown at Makarska, Croatia in 1998.
American Robert Kendrick will be competing for the Sportimes for the sixth year since 2002. He was a member of the Sportimes’ WTT championship team in 2005 and was protected by New York in the first round of the draft. Kendrick has been ranked as high as 69th on the ATP World Tour.
Jesse Witten is playing his seventh consecutive year with the Sportimes, and was the team’s second-round selection in the 2013 WTT Draft. Witten, a five-time All American at the University of Kentucky, is in his seventh year on the ATP Tour and has been ranked as high as 163rd in singles, reaching the third round of the U.S. Open in 2009. Witten was WTT Rookie of the Year in 2007.
For more information, call (212) 427-6150 or visit www.nysportimes.com.