Sloane Stephens and Kevin Anderson Join Kastles
Stephens Headlines Finals Rematch; Anderson Opens Campaign
World Top 20 Players Added to Star-Studded Kastles Lineup
Top 20 singles players Sloane Stephens and Kevin Anderson are joining a star-studded Washington Kastles lineup this July at Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center.
Stephens and former World No. 1s Martina Hingis and Leander Paes will lead Washington versus the Springfield Lasers in a rematch of the 2009 and 2013 Mylan World TeamTennis Finals on July 22. Tickets to the match start at only $12 and are on sale now.
Anderson, returning for his second season with the Kastles, will headline Washington's home matches against the Boston Lobsters on July 9 and Philadelphia Freedoms on July 10. Tickets to those matches start at just $8.
Both of the Kastles' rising stars were victorious in first-round matches at the French Open on Tuesday. The 15th-seeded Stephens defeated Shuai Peng 6-4, 7-6(8), while the 19th-seeded Anderson eliminated Stephane Robert 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
Over the next two weeks in Paris, Stephens hopes to extend an impressive streak at Grand Slam events. She has reached the fourth round or better at the last five major tournaments, highlighted by runs to the Australian Open semifinals and Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2013.
Along the way, Stephens stunned Serena Williams in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals to become the first U.S. teenager since Williams, herself, to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.
Kastles coach Murphy Jensen, who coached Williams with Washington during the 2009 and 2011 WTT seasons, sees similarities between the two Americans.
"Sloane Stephens is the most captivating shot-maker and sizzling court-mover to come along since Serena," said Jensen, the three-time reigning WTT Coach of the Year.
Jensen was familiar with Stephens long before her breakout win over Williams. The World No. 19 competed against Washington twice in 2009 as a member of the New York Buzz.
Just 16 years old at the time, Stephens turned heads at the original Kastles Stadium at CityCenterDC by defeating Olga Puchkova 5-2 in singles and teaming with Mallory Burdette to beat Puchkova and former World No. 1 Rennae Stubbs 5-2 in doubles.
"I've followed the Washington Kastles' success ever since I first played Mylan World TeamTennis, and it feels great to finally call myself a Kastle," said Stephens. "I can't wait to be part of another championship run in Washington."
Stephens is expected to play singles and doubles when the Kastles renew their rivalry with the Lasers. Springfield dealt Washington its first and only home loss since 2010 by beating the Kastles 22-15 during the 2013 regular season. When the two teams met again 17 days later at Kastles Stadium, Washington routed Springfield 25-12 to win its third straight WTT title.
The Kastles and Lasers also played in the 2009 WTT Finals, with Washington prevailing 23-20 in D.C. for the first of its four league championships.
While Stephens closes out the Kastles' home campaign, Anderson opens it July 9-10 when Washington hosts Boston and Philadelphia in Eastern Conference match-ups. Anderson was a member of the 2013 Kastles team that tied, then broke, the major U.S. pro sports record for consecutive victories. The World No. 20 won the men's singles set in both of those matches.
"Breaking the win-streak record and being part of a championship team was an amazing feeling," said Anderson. "The Kastles are the team tennis dynasty and I'm thrilled about coming back to D.C. this season."
At 6-foot-8, Anderson possesses a serve that nears 140 miles per hour, which is sure to draw raucous reactions from Kastles supporters sitting a few feet away in the Kastles Baseline Experience section. New in 2014, the Kastles Baseline Experience will put fans directly behind the court and on the same level as the playing surface for a view unlike any other in pro tennis.
Anderson and Stephens are the latest attractions to the Kastles' first season at the Charles E. Smith Center in Foggy Bottom. Five-time Wimbledon singles champion Venus Williams returns to Washington for one night only on July 16, while Hingis and Paes will play in all seven of the Kastles' home matches.
Should the Kastles capture the King Trophy again on July 27, they will tie the 1997-2000 Sacramento Capitals for the most consecutive league titles.
Individual match tickets to see the Kastles are on sale starting at $8 through Ticketmaster (www.Ticketmaster.com, 202-397-7328). Kastles Baseline Experience, Kastles Baseline Club and all season tickets can be purchased by calling 202-4-TENNIS (483-6647) or visiting www.WashingtonKastles.com.
Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center is located at 600 22nd Street NW, three blocks from the Foggy Bottom-GWU stop on Metrorail's blue and orange lines. Parking is available for $10 on weeknights and $12 on weekends at four George Washington University parking garages located within three blocks of the Smith Center.