Preview: #WTTFamily At 2018 WimbledonJuly 01, 2018
There’s just a fortnight left to go until the 43rd season of World TeamTennis presented by GEICO kicks off. As the six teams prepare for three weeks of competition, our #WTTFamily will look to gain confidence on the lawns of Wimbledon.
Five-time singles champion Venus Williams (Washington Kastles) headlines a strong field of WTT stars competing at the season’s third major tournament. Williams, the runner-up last year, arrives for her 21st appearance at the All England Club. The ninth seed meets Johanna Larsson on Monday.
Also taking the court on opening day is Roland Garros finalist Sloane Stephens (Philadelphia Freedoms), who enters as the top-ranked American woman for the first time at a Grand Slam. The 2017 US Open champion is seeded fourth and plays Donna Vekic.
Among those facing difficult openers are Naomi Broady (San Diego Aviators) and Tatjana Maria (New York Empire). The big-serving Broady drew reigning titlist Garbine Muguruza (third seed), whereas Maria – who lifted her first WTA singles trophy in Mallorca last week – squares off against fifth seed Elina Svitolina.
WTT rookie Naomi Osaka (Kastles) enjoys her highest major seeding at No. 18 and is joined by Taylor Townsend (Freedoms), Madison Brengle (Kastles), 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard (Empire) and Yanina Wickmayer (Orange County Breakers).
On the men’s side, four WTT veterans are seeded inside the top 20, led by No. 8 seed Kevin Anderson of the Freedoms.
Anderson, last year’s US Open finalist, begins his campaign on Day 1 against Norbert Gombos and is looking to advance past the fourth round for the first time. The South African could meet 11th seed Sam Querrey (Breakers) in the round of 16. Querrey’s best major result came a year ago at The Championships, when he knocked out then world No. 1 Andy Murray to reach the semifinals. Querrey opens his quest Monday versus Jordan Thompson.
‘Marathon man’ John Isner (Empire) is seeded ninth, while Jack Sock (Springfield Lasers) comes in as the 18th seed. Isner takes on qualifier Yannick Maden and Sock faces Matteo Berretteni. Kastles’ teammates Frances Tiafoe and Tennys Sandgren drew 30th seed Fernando Verdasco and three-time champion and No. 12 seed Novak Djokovic, respectively. Rounding out the men’s field are Taylor Fritz (Aviators) and qualifier Stephane Robert (Breakers).
The doubles draws were held prior to the start of the tournament, with some players opting to pull double duty.
Former champion Sock combines with Mike Bryan (Kastles), who has claimed three Wimbledon crowns with currently injured twin brother Bob Bryan. The 7th-seeded Sock and Bryan start their tournament against Daniele Bracciali and Andreas Seppi. Two-time titlist Daniel Nestor (Lasers) joins forces with another past champion in Jurgen Melzer, with the two meeting eighth seeds Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya.
Fritz teams up with Matthew Ebden and Tiafoe joins compatriot Jackson Withrow. Three-time finalist Robert Lindstedt (Kastles) / Robin Haase, this week’s Antalya champions Marcelo Demoliner (Breakers) / Santiago Gonzalez, Marcin Matkowski (Aviators) / Jonathan Erlich, Fabrice Martin (Freedoms) / Purav Raja and the in-form Neal Skupski (Empire) / Ken Skupski complete the draw.
Andreja Klepac (Breakers) and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (Empire) earned the highest seeding within the contingent in women’s doubles. Klepac and Martinez Sanchez, the No. 4 seeds, are looking to build off their Mallorca triumph, which marked their first title of the season. The #WTTFamily tandem play Irina Bara and Alize Cornet.
Freedoms’ wildcard Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu enter on the back of their own success, picking up the Eastbourne trophy Saturday. Seeded sixth, Dabrowski and Xu take on Alison Riske and Olga Savchuk. Also finding themselves amongst the seeded pairs are 11th seeds Raquel Atawo (Freedoms) and Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Aviators) and 12th seeds Nicole Melichar (Kastles ) and Kveta Peschke. Atawo and Groenefeld are former semifinalists in previous partnerships.
Adding to their singles plates are Broady and Maria. Broady partners Asia Muhammad, whom she’s captured two ITF tiles with in 2018, and Maria reunites with home favorite Heather Watson. Last but certainly not least are Lasers’ teammates Vania King and Abigail Spears. King pairs up with fellow former champion Katarina Srebotnik and Spears continues with recent Nottingham champion partner Alicja Rosolska.
The mixed doubles draw is scheduled to be released on Wednesday.