The 2016 Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) season will end the same way it started–with the Orange County Breakers and San Diego Aviators battling on the league’s signature multi-colored courts. But this time, the 2016 WTT championship title will be on the line when the rivals face off in the Mylan WTT Finals, presented by Citi, at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y.
San Diego and Orange County look to be evenly matched, after splitting their regular season series 2-2 and finishing with identical 8-4 records. Each team even boasts a 2016 MVP Player with Ryan Harrison of the Aviators and Nicole Gibbs of the Breakers. However, San Diego will be the home team in the Finals based on league tie-breaking procedures. Since the teams split their four regular season matches, the next tie-breaker is most games won in head-to-head meetings and San Diego leads that category 82-77. As the home team, the Aviators will set the order of play. San Diego is looking for their first title, while the Breakers won their only championship in 2004.
Gibbs leads Orange County’s team that includes Alla Kudryavtseva, Dennis Novikov, Scott Lipsky and veteran coach Rick Leach.
San Diego’s squad includes Harrison, Darija Jurak, Raven Klaasen, Shelby Rogers and coach John Lloyd, who was named 2016 Mylan WTT Coach of the Year. Whichever team lifts the King Trophy on Friday afternoon, it will be a first for the players. Only Lloyd and Leach have been part of championship teams during their Mylan WTT careers.
“I’m so happy,” said Rogers. “This has been my first season of World TeamTennis so it’s really special to be in the Finals right away. I couldn’t have asked for a better team and a better first season and experience. I love these guys so much. It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve played really well, which is a bonus.”
“Everybody’s been getting along and we knew we had the opportunity to win with any given line up,” said Harrison. “If one particular set went down, we were always able to pick each other up and we had a lot of confidence in that.”
Gibbs is confident the Breakers can continue their post-season success.
“We are going to have to stay together as a unit and play every point with a positive, determined attitude,” Gibbs said. “In Mylan WTT, every point matters and that is even more true in a matchup as even and well competed as ours.”
In pre-match activities, several of New York’s top chefs will be serving up signature dishes at The Taste of Tennis Pavilion, hosted by Marcus Samuelsson. The Pavilion, which requires a VIP Experience ticket, is an interactive culinary experience that will feature cuisine prepared by top local restaurants, handcrafted cocktails and other VIP experiences. Four celebrity chefs, including Samuelsson, will step out of the kitchen and onto the court in an exciting tennis exhibition on stadium court prior to the start of the championship match.
Player introductions kick off at 3:45 p.m., followed by the national anthem, set to be performed by former WNBA star Kym Hampton. ESPN3 will broadcast the Mylan WTT Finals at 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday with ESPN2 joining the live coverage at 5:00 p.m. ET.
New York Tennis Magazine Staff
The New York Tennis Magazine Staff is comprised of tennis pros, tennis coaches and tennis writers