World TeamTennis is launching a new free agency player recruitment model ahead of its 2020 season, and teams have the opportunity to sign players beginning today.
The free agency approach was designed to allow teams more freedom to assemble their rosters during the WTT recruitment window. Free agency enabled WTT to eliminate the WTT Draft, the avenue by which WTT teams typically began to fill out their rosters in March.
"We are really excited to jump into this new era of World TeamTennis with our new free agency player procurement model,” WTT CEO and President Carlos Silva said. “This design gives our teams more flexibility to go after players that might be better fits for their franchises. In the draft model, teams were fairly restricted on which players they could select once their draft position rolled around. This way teams can go after whoever they feel appropriate.”
The new recruitment model also allows teams to better target players who might have local ties or existing relationships with team executives. Teams also have the first right to protect and sign players who played for them the previous season.
A salary cap for each WTT franchise has been put in place to help maintain parity across the league.
“Our teams have a lot of good relationships with some of the top players in the world and we wanted to leverage those relationships,” Silva said. “We have given the teams more power in recruiting as roster spots will fill up fast.”
Similar to past years, teams are required to sign four full-season players to their rosters by March 17 and can add franchise players at any time.
When the 45th World TeamTennis regular season hits the court from July 12-29, 2020, it will do so with a record level of prize money. The prize pool will increase to a whopping $5,000,000, including $1,000,000 in WTT Playoffs compensation and $500,000 to the team that hoists the King Trophy.
“With the increase of prize money that we announced last month, we’ve had a number of inbound calls from some of the best players in the world. Team formats are the future of tennis and players love playing WTT,” Silva said. “We expect team rosters to be completed as early as the 2020 Australian Open for some teams.”
The WTT Playoffs return to Orleans Arena at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. for the second consecutive year – home of WTT’s Vegas Rollers – with WTT’s semifinals on July 31 and the WTT Final on Aug. 1.
The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers repeated as WTT champions in 2019 as they rallied to complete a 20-19 comeback victory over the New York Empire.
WTT introduced professional team tennis to the world in 1974 and was co-founded by Billie Jean King. WTT is one of five active U.S. pro sports leagues which has been in operation for over 40 years, along with the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. For more information on World TeamTennis, please visit www.wtt.com.