Opening night for the Washington Kastles was a grand slam for local tennis fans as Washington big wigs invaded Kastles stadium Wednesday night.
A pre-match meet and greet and press conference gave players a chance to speak with a few special fans before the games began. New to the team, Venus Williams was the star of the night with her much-anticipated match against 14-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis (of the New York Buzz). In separate press conferences, both players expressed the importance of keeping their friendly competition on the court. “I don’t want get involved in any of the rivalries and the talking behind peoples’ backs,” says Williams.
The sold-out match was Venus’s first as part of the Kastles, who joins her sister Serena Williams (who will play Hingis on Friday) on the team this year. The addition of Venus bolsters the team’s roster, now boasting two Wimbledon champions. Also adding to the recent Venus buzz is the release of her new book, Come to Win, a collection of advice from successful professionals who have employed team sports skills in business settings.
In attendance were former tennis great and World Team Tennis co-founder Billie Jean King and WTT CEO Illana Klaus, who sat with White House staffers Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff Susan Sher. Kastles owner Mark Ein said a few words to the crowd before the match began, specifically mentioning King’s work as a member of the Presidential Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition and for supporting Michelle Obama’s Lets Move obesity initiative. Ein (dressed in a sharp pin-stripe suit and baseball cap) watched enthusiastically from the stands alongside Washington’s First Family– Mayor Adrian Fenty, wife Michelle, and their three children.
The 100-degree heat left everyone dripping, but plenty of cold Corona and Gatorade kept patrons cool in the still-hot evening sun. Despite the heat, Washington’s finest dazzled in cool summer sundresses and bright polo shirts.
Last night’s games certainly started off a great season for the champion-defending Kastles with five wins, leaving Washingtonians excited for a sure-to-be outstanding season. What’s next? Look forward for upcoming matches with such stars as Andy Roddick, James McEnroe, Ana Kournikova, and Maria Sharapova.
Washington Kastles Opening Night
Click on a thumbnail to view the full photo!