IRVING – By now, you’ve heard that the Kansas City Explorers are the new Texas Wild, bringing world-class tennis to North Texas. It’s certainly not the first time that’s happened. In March, the Dallas Tennis Classic (part of the ATP Challenger Tour) was played in Irving for the second year running.
But this, as they say, is not that. Not even close.
Mylan World TeamTennis is anything but just another tournament. It’s an entire season of high-energy, high-speed tennis the likes of which most have never seen. In its inaugural season, the Texas Wild will play fourteen matches in eighteen days, seven of them at the newly expanded arena at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas.
What exactly is TeamTennis? It’s nothing new. In fact, World TeamTennis was co-founded by Billie Jean King and Larry King in 1974 on the principle of gender equality.
Billie Jean King simply says, “If you have ever seen a Mylan WTT match you have seen my philosophy of life in action – men and women, competing together, on a team and both genders making equal contributions to the result.” To date, it is the only professional sports league in which men and women share equal roles.
Now in its 38th season (there was a short hiatus from 1979-1980), just about every major champion has played World TeamTennis including Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Stefanie Graf, Bob and Mike Bryan, Andre Agassi, Venus and Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
The Texas Wild boasts Bob and Mike Bryan, currently the No. 1 men’s duo in the world. With a win at Wimbledon, they will become the second team in history to win the calendar Grand Slam and the only team to hold all four Grand Slam championships and the Olympic Gold Medal.
But what is it?
Since the phrase “Game scoring is 1 to 4; No-ad; Scoring is cumulative,” is Greek to most, here are the basics of Mylan World TeamTennis:
TEAM – Each co-ed team consists of 2 men, 2 women and 1 coach (plus marquee a player[s], if available)
MATCH – Each match consists of five events, one each of the following: men’s & women’s singles, men’s & women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The order in which these events are played is determined by the home team’s coach.
EVENTS – To keep things simple, events are sets played to five games. If an event reaches 4-4 then a best of 9 tiebreaker (first to 5 points) counts as the fifth game.
GAMES – Games are scored no-ad (Advantage McEnroe should echo from childhood memories) meaning the first to 4 points wins. At deuce (3-3), the receiver determines which side he/she will play the point, and in doubles the serve is always gender to gender.
SCORING – Each game counts towards the team’s cumulative match score, which determines the outcome of the match.
WINNING – If the team ahead in the cumulative match score wins the last event, then that team is declared the winner of the match. If the trailing team wins the final event, the match goes into Overtime.
OVERTIME – Overtime is played by the participants in the fifth event and continues until (a) the leading team wins one game, or (b) the trailing team ties the cumulative match score. If the score becomes tied, the match is decided by a Supertiebreaker.
SUPERTIEBREAKER – If the cumulative match score is tied at the end of the five events or if the trailing team ties the cumulative match score in Overtime, a 13-point Supertiebreaker is played by the participants in the fifth event. The first team to win seven points is awarded a single game and is declared the winner of the match.
Lets are in play. On-court coaching, timeouts, substitutions – it’s definitely not the hushed environment of Wimbledon or the US Open. Mylan World TeamTennis is all about the fan experience. In truth, you just have to see it for yourself to believe it.