| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The summer is upon us and that means Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) action is right around the corner, highlighted by the inaugural season of the New York Empire as WTT action returns to the New York area after a brief hiatus. The New York Empire will play its home matches at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club.

The New York Empire is one of six teams in this year’s field and will be coached by New York native Patrick McEnroe. In addition to the Empire, this year’s WTT field features the Orange County Breakers (coached by Rick Leach), Philadelphia Freedoms (coached by Josh Cohen), San Diego Aviators (coached by John Lloyd), Springfield Lasers (coached by John-Laffnie de Jager), and the Washington Kastles (coached by Murphy Jensen).

This year’s Empire roster features an array of international talent, including Americans Andy Roddick and Christina McHale, Argentina’s Maria Irigoyen and Guido Pella, and Neal Skupski from England.

“To play on the legendary courts at Forest Hills and be involved with a team in a city that I love, New York, will make this even more special,” said Roddick.

CBS Sports Radio host and Gracie Award winner Amy Lawrence will serve as the “Voice of the New York Empire.” The host of the overnight radio program “After Hours With Amy Lawrence,” heard on hundreds of stations nationwide, online and via mobile app, Amy will help the crowd follow along with all the action, as well as host interviews with coaches and players during the six home matches of the NY Empire.

“We are excited to have someone as creative and energetic as Amy Lawrence bring her voice to Empire matches this summer,” said Empire General Manager Colleen Hopkins. “Her skill sets will be vital in highlighting the competitive, exciting atmosphere that is New York Empire Tennis, as well as bringing the fans as close as possible to the players and on-court strategy.”

The historic Forest Hills Stadium at the West Side Tennis Club
On April 22, 1892, 13 initial members organized the West Side Tennis Club with the modest goal of renting ground on Central Park West, between 88th and 89th Streets, for three clay courts. The courts opened on June 11, 1892, and Club membership required a $10 initiation cost, a $10 annual fee, and the ability to play a good game of tennis. By the end of the first season, the Club expanded to 43 members and five courts.

After 10 years, the Central Park West property became too commercially valuable for tennis, so the Club moved to 117th Street near Columbia University, which had room for eight courts. Through the largesse of the land’s owner, Mrs. John Drexel of the prominent banking Drexel family, the Club paid a mere $20 per court annually

With the success, however, came the realization that the West Side’s location was inadequate to accommodate the crowds. A committee was formed in 1912 to find a permanent location for purchase. The committee scouted 30-plus locations and narrowed the field to properties in the Bronx, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills. On Dec. 3, 1912, the Club voted on the Forest Hills location.

The Club purchased the land, a few blocks from the Long Island Railroad, for a $2,000 down payment and a $75,000 mortgage. The Tudor-style clubhouse, built the following year, cost approximately $25,000. New York City featured a world-class tennis center by the spring of 1914.

The 1915 transfer of the United States Lawn Tennis Association National Championship (later the U.S. Open) to the West Side Tennis Club from the Newport Casino was a watershed event in the history of tennis. For the next six decades, the Championship would be held at West Side. Along with tennis events, West Side hosted music concerts in its stadium for decades. Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, Diana Ross and the Boston Pops were just some of the musicians that performed at West Side.

By the late 1970s, the popularity of the Open had boomed, and the 15,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium had become too small to handle the crowds. The USTA moved the Open to the broader expanses of Flushing Meadows in 1978.

But professional tennis is now back at the West Side Tennis Club with the New York Empire who will be lighting up Forest Hills all-summer long.

About Mylan World TeamTennis
World TeamTennis is a uniquely formatted tennis league which features teams comprised of both men and women. Originally founded in 1973, the league ended in 1978, but was resumed in 1981. In 1984, Billie Jean King was named commissioner and major owner of the league and its popularity has grown ever since.

The matches consist of five sets, with each set being a different flight of men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The scoring is played with no-ad, and the first team to reach five games wins that respective set. The crowds are encouraged to cheer and music is played throughout the match to provide a lively atmosphere.


 

New York Empire 2016 Roster
Coach Patrick McEnroe (USA)
Patrick McEnroe is a Long Island native who had a decorated doubles career, winning 16 titles, including the 1989 French Open with Jim Grabb. That same year, he also won the year-end Tour Finals with Grabb. Since his playing days, McEnroe has been busy. He currently serves as a tennis broadcaster for ESPN, and has previously been a Davis Cup captain, as well as the general manager of USTA Player Development.

Andy Roddick (USA)
Andy Roddick is a former world number one who is a fan favorite amongst American tennis fans, most notably for his triumph at the 2003 U.S. Open, which is still the most recent Grand Slam title for American men’s singles players. He has been a staple of World TeamTennis and the PowerShares Series since his retirement, and his power and energy will bring fans to their feet this summer. Over the course of his career, Roddick captured 32 Tour-level singles titles, including five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns. He reached world number one in the ATP Men’s Singles Rankings on Nov. 3, 2003, and finished in the top 10 of the ATP Rankings for nine consecutive years (2002-2010). He helped lead the U.S. team to 2007 Davis Cup title, the first for the U.S. since 1995. His Andy Roddick Foundation has raised more than $14 million for charity since 2001.

Christina McHale (USA)
A New Jersey native, Christina McHale was the first player chosen by the Empire for its inaugural season. She is currently ranked 68th in the world and reached a career-high ranking of 24th in 2012. Most recently, McHale helped lead the U.S. past Australia in the Fed Cup Playoffs with a victory over Samantha Stosur. She advanced to the third round at all four Grand Slam events. Christina has represented Team USA at the London 2012 Olympics and has represented her nation in seven Fed Cup ties as well, with her latest appearance coming in April 2016. Over the course of her career, she owns top 10 wins over Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Marion Bartoli.

Guido Pella (ARG)
Making his WTT debut this year, Guido Pella hails from Argentina and reached a career high ranking of 39th in the world back in March. He reached the second round of the 2016 French Open before losing a hard-fought five-set match to the 18th-ranked Gilles Simon. Pella has won eight ATP Challenger Tour singles titles over his career, including the 2012 ATP Challenger Tour Finals trophy in Sao Paulo. In 2013, he secured his first top 10 victory by defeating then world number 10 Janko Tipsarevic in Dusseldorf.

 

Maria Irigoyen (ARG)
Like Pella, Maria Irigoyen is an Argentina native who is known as a doubles specialist and is making her WTT debut in 2016. She has won two career doubles titles on the WTA Tour, most recently the Rio Open in February with partner Veronica Cepede Royg. Irigoyen has won a combined 75 ITF titles (17 singles, 58 doubles), and reached a career-high WTA ranking of 147th in singles in July of 2015 and 49th in doubles in May 2016. She made her Fed Cup debut in 2008 representing her home nation of Argentina.

Neal Skupski (GBR)
Neal Skupski is a rising British doubles specialist and 2015 Mylan WTT Male Rookie of the Year. Skupski was a standout collegiate player Louisiana State University before turning pro in 2013. The Liverpool native, who frequently teams with his brother, Ken, is currently ranked 79th in the world in doubles and is coming off reaching the second round in doubles at Wimbledon just a few weeks ago. He and his brother reached the finals of the Kremlin Cup in 2013 and have won 10 Challengers and seven Futures doubles titles in their careers together.

 



 

Season highlights for the New York Empire
►Opening night for the Empire will be July 31 when Mardy Fish and the five-time defending WTT Champion Washington Kastles will visit Forest Hills for the first ever New York Empire match. This will also be USTA Eastern Night.

►Caroline Wozniacki will be the featured player for the Philadelphia Freedoms when the Freedoms visit Forest Hills and the Empire on Aug. 1.

►Andy Roddick will join the New York Empire as its featured player during the Aug. 9 match against Mardy Fish and the Kastles.

►Long Island’s Scott Lipsky will visit West Side Tennis Club when the Orange County Breakers take on the Empire Aug. 11

►The 2016 Mylan World TeamTennis Finals will take place at West Side Tennis Club on Aug. 26.



 

2016 New York Empire Home Schedule
Sunday, July 31 vs. Washington Kastles (featuring Mardy Fish), 6:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club

Monday, Aug. 1 vs. Philadelphia Freedoms (featuring Caroline Wozniacki), 7:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club

Wednesday, Aug. 3 vs. Springfield Lasers, 7:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club

Tuesday, Aug. 9 vs. Washington Kastles (featuring Mardy Fish for the Kastles & Andy Roddick for the Empire), 7:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club

Thursday, Aug. 11 vs. Orange County Breakers (featuring Scott Lipsky), 7:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club

Friday, Aug. 12 vs. San Diego Aviators, 7:00 p.m. at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club



 

Ticket information
Home matches for the New York Empire at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club are available for purchase. Season tickets, group discount packages and individual tickets are on sale now, so visit NYEmpireTennis.com to see all the great offers.

 

Group Pricing (Marquee Nights of July 31, Aug. 1 & Aug. 9)
Lower Club (normally $40)
10-19 tickets ($30 each)
20-39 tickets ($25 each)
40-plus tickets ($20 each)

Upper Club (normally $30)
10-19 tickets ($25 each)
20-39 tickets ($20 each)
40-plus tickets ($15 each)

Lower Bowl (normally $25) 
10-19 tickets ($20 each)
20-39 tickets ($15 each)
40-plus tickets ($10 each)

Group Pricing (Non-Marquee Nights of Aug. 3, Aug. 11 & Aug. 12)
Lower Club (normally $30)
10-19 tickets ($25 each)
20-39 tickets ($20 each)
40-plus tickets ($15 each) 

Upper Club (normally $25)
10-19 tickets ($20 each)
20-39 tickets ($15 each)
40-plus tickets ($10 each)

Lower Bowl (normally $20)
10-19 tickets ($15 each)
20-39 tickets ($10 each)
40-plus tickets ($5 each)



 

New York Empire 2016 Sponsors
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New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The New York Tennis Magazine Staff is comprised of tennis pros, tennis coaches and tennis writers