Everyone loves Venus Williams.
Venus’ commitment to the World Team Tennis Finals Weekend is great news.
And Martina Hingis is almost as popular as Venus. If these two square off in an expected singles showdown in the Sept. 15 Eastern Conference final pitting Venus’ unbeaten Washington Kastles against Hingis’ New York Sportimes, it should keep fans on the edge of their seats at Family Circle Stadium.
But for my money, the most exciting news is that colorful Leander Paes is returning to Daniel Island for the Sept. 14-16 WTT extravaganza. Due to India’s Davis Cup tie that same weekend, there had been some concern until this past week if Paes would be on Daniel Island.
Paes may be the most dynamic player in all of professional tennis. He is Mr. Excitement. No return is safe when Paes’ electrifying quickness is on the other side of the net.
He was “only” 38 when he won this year’s Australian Open in doubles to complete a career doubles Grand Slam. He’s now 39.
Paes was the big show last summer on Daniel Island when he led the Kastles to the WTT title and a perfect 16-0 season.
He’ll try to repeat that effort in two weeks, and with Venus making the trip to Charleston this time the Kastles might be unbeatable.
If that happens, the Kastles will be within two wins of breaking the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ U.S. major pro sports franchise record of 33 consecutive victories.
And, of course, John McEnroe will do his part to keep the fans excited with his left-handed brilliance for the Sportimes.
The latest news from the WTT is that former great Lindsay Davenport will not be able to play for the Orange County Breakers in Charleston. The Breakers will oppose the Sacramento Capitals in the Friday night Western Conference final, with the Friday-Saturday winners earning berths in the Sunday afternoon showdown for the WTT championship.
PTL starts Friday
Local fans have another opportunity next weekend to familiarize themselves with the fast WTT format. The Charleston Pro Tennis League will open another season next Friday at Family Circle Tennis Center, but with a different look.
The CPTL is switching to the WTT format, and is including women in the lineup.
The Lowcountry Tennis Association will take advantage of the built-in entertainment to hold its annual party during the CPTL’s opening night.
Hugs for Harper
The entry deadline for the Sept. 14-16 Hugs for Harper USTA-sanctioned S.C. Level 3 adult tournament at Kiawah Island is next Sunday. The event will honor the memory of Harper Drolet and celebrate her life by supporting others who battle pediatric cancer. Proceeds benefit MUSC’s Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cancer Research Center.
Contact Kiawah pro Jonathan Barth (email@example.com, 768-2838 or 568-1468).
Fleming event near
The Alan Fleming Senior Championships are Oct. 3-8 at Seabrook Island.
The deadline for entering the tournament is Sept. 24. Visit www.discoverseabrook.com, or contact the Seabrook Tennis Club (768-7543).
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.