Breaking News: Frances Tiafoe & Nick Kyrgios Will Headline Kastles Men's Roster this SummerMarch 12, 2019
Big Foe Returns!
DC phenom Frances Tiafoe will enjoy another homecoming this July. The Washington Kastles announced today they re-signed the College Park native to play his third season of World TeamTennis for the franchise. Tiafoe will play the Kastles' first three home matches at Kastles Stadium from July 15-17.
In 2017, Tiafoe made his WTT debut at the age of 19, fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing for his hometown team, the Washington Kastles. DC sports fans were awed by his extraordinary performance, night after night, at Kastles Stadium and equally inspired by his improbable life story.
The son of refugees who escaped war-torn Sierra Leone, Tiafoe was introduced to tennis as a toddler at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, where his father was the head of maintenance. Frances spent countless hours at the club, quietly picking up the sport. Before long, he was beating the top players in the program and in 2013, at the age of 15, became the youngest player in history to win the historic Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship at Key Biscayne, joining an exclusive list of champions that, among others, includes Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, and Roger Federer. And he's only gotten better since.
Last year, Tiafoe captured his first ATP World Tour singles title at the Delray Beach Open, defeating 2009 US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro, Aussie Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung, and Next-Gen star Denis Shapovalov along the way. But Frances had the biggest breakthrough of his career this year in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
The Kastles all-star tore through the early rounds of the tournament, upsetting world #6 and former Kastle Kevin Anderson to notch his first top-10 victory at a Grand Slam. He also won his first five-set match at a major against Italian world #36 Andreas Seppi and then beat Grigor Dimitrov in a very tight, four-set match to reach his first Slam quarterfinal and achieve a career-high ranking of #29 in the world.
"It's unbelievable," said Tiafoe after his milestone victory in Melbourne. "I obviously am not a normal tennis story. I'm taking the game to the guys. I'm playing very aggressive, trying to put things in my terms. Also, I'm competing really well, staying in the rallies. Not bailing out. Going point in, point out."
Kastles fans will get a chance to see their hometown hero take it the competition this summer up close in Kastles Stadium.
Frances will play the first three home matches of the season, July 15-17.
The Kastles are also thrilled to announce the return of global superstar Nick Kyrgios to the lineup. The Australian sensation wowed Kastles fans in his electric WTT debut for Washington in 2016. His return to DC for the Kastles' last home match of the season against the defending WTT champion Springfield Lasers promises to be one of the most exciting nights of the summer!
Kyrgios is one of the great talents and entertainers in the sport of tennis. When commentators and writers talk about the next wave of great players, his name almost inevitably comes up. The athletic and charismatic 6'4" Aussie dazzles crowds around the globe with his shot making ability and earth shattering forehand and serves.
Kyrgios is currently ranked #33 on the ATP World Tour, but reached a career-high of #13 in 2016 and, at only 23 years of age, has already won five ATP singles titles, including most recently the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, where he scored back-to-back wins over multi-Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka to reach the semifinals. Kyrgios then toppled American #1 and WTT rival John Isner (New York Empire) and world #3 Alexander Zverev for the title.
Kyrgios holds career victories against virtually every player ranked in the top ten
In 2014, as an unheralded 19-year old, Kyrgios burst on the scene when he upset then-world #1 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3. The between-the-legs drop shot he executed during that match remains one of the most watched tennis clips on YouTube today. Watch it here!
Since that breakthrough performance, Kyrgios has established himself as one of the most deadly competitors in the game. He has reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the Australian Open and already holds career victories against virtually every player currently ranked in the top ten, including Roger Federer and multiple wins over current world #1 Novak Djokovic (he leads their career head-to-head, 2-0) and world #3 Alexander Zverev (whom Kyrgios leads 4-3).
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"Nick is widely recognized as one of the most gifted players in the world," said Kastles owner Mark Ein. "Anyone who has seen him play on TV knows that he's a special talent, but what they might not recognize until they see him play in person is how much he loves the team format and entertaining crowds. He's a perfect fit for the Kastles. He feeds off crowd energy and, here in Washington, that's what we do best. We can't wait to have him back."
Kyrgios will play the Kastles' last home match of the season against defending WTT champs Springfield Lasers on Saturday, July 27
Find out who else will fill the Kastles roster this season TODAY! Watch LIVE coverage of the 2019 WTT Draft streaming on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube @washkastles