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The San Diego Aviators serve up tennis for everyone
Posted on June 15, 2018
Tennis lovers will delight in the excitement of professional team tennis at Carlsbad’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa starting this July when the San Diego Aviators and World TeamTennis return for the fourth season at the storied North County tennis destination. Featuring some of the game’s biggest stars and most talented players, the season will bring the league’s signature tennis-out-loud style to audiences of all ages, heating up summer nights in San Diego.
WTT is the brainchild of tennis legend Billie Jean King. Since its creation in 1973, the league has featured the biggest names in tennis playing in a unique format intended to make the game approachable for all. Every match includes five sets of play: one set each of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. A simplified first-to-four point system means spectators don’t have to be tennis players to understand the score. A courtside DJ keeps the intensity pumping, fans are encouraged to get loud and cheer during the matches, and kids are invited for an on-court autograph session with players and coaches following every match.
The Aviators, who nabbed the championship in 2016 just two years after the team’s debut, are coached by three-time mixed doubles Grand Slam champion John Lloyd. While some league players may not be household names, they all have impressive stats including wins at the major tournaments on the professional tour — the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the French Open, and the US Open — guaranteeing a thrilling night of high-level play. For Lloyd, the value of a cohesive team outweighs the lure of the big names in his goal to recapture the championship for San Diego. “I think a lot of it is just going to do with team balance; which team meshes the right way and gets off to hopefully a good start,” he said following the 2018 team draft.
However, WTT packs plenty of star power, too. It draws top talent to play on its unique multi-colored courts in a three-week summer season that fills the gap between Wimbledon and the US Open. Across the six teams that comprise the league, this season’s star players include current US No. 1 John Isner, 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, and modern legends Venus Williams and the Bryan Brothers.
WTT participation has also been a springboard for players at the start of their careers. Case in point: in 2015, the Aviators brought on 17-year-old Rancho Santa Fe local Taylor Fritz. Following the season’s conclusion, Fritz went on to clinch the junior title at the US Open, joined the professional tour, and saw a 462-point rise in the rankings in the first two weeks of his pro career. This summer, Fritz rejoins the team to play for two matches including opening night, this time as a marquee player who’s had remarkable success on the pro circuit.
The Aviators’ regular season kicks off at their July 15 home opener against the Springfield Lasers. Use promo code GOAVIATORS for 10% off tickets. sandiegoaviators.com Deanna Murphy