The Washington Kastles and St. Louis Aces swept the post-season honors for the
2011 World TeamTennis Pro League presented by GEICO.Â Leander Paes of the Washington Kastles andSt. Louis’ Liezel Huber were announced as League MVPs Friday evening prior to the opening matches of the 2011 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.
Arina Rodionova of the Washington Kastles and Jean-Julien Rojer of the St. Louis Aces were named as WTT Rookies of the Year, while Murphy Jensen was named WTT Coach of the Year in his third season at the helm of the Washington Kastles.
Leander Paes, the former world No. 1 doubles player, with an astounding 46 titles on the ATP Tour, secured this yearâ€™s MVP distinction for the men. Paes is no stranger to this award, having earned the honor in 2009 en route to leading the Kastles to the title that year.Â Paes finished the 2011 regular season as part of the top-ranked team in both men’s and mixed doubles.Â Â Â Paes teamed with Bobby Reynolds to post a 64-45 record and .587 winning percentage.Â Paes also topped the rankings in mixed doubles teaming with several partners, including regular partner Rennae Stubbs, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
â€œI am humbled to get this award again,” said Paes.Â “After three unforgettable years with the Kastles, I feel like a real Washingtonian.Â It’s been a joy comparable to any in my career to play on this memorable team with Murphy, my wonderful teammates, Mark Einâ€™s organization, and the great Kastles fans inWashingtonD.C.Without them, nothing that happened this season would have been possible.â€
For the women, another doubles standout Liezel Huber of the St. Louis Aces earned the Female MVP award. Also a former world No. 1, Huber has earned 44 doubles titles in her distinguished career. Sheâ€™s also been a committed WTT competitor, playing in her 11thÂ season this year.Â Huber topped women’s doubles rankings with a .693 winning percentage.Â Huber also finished second in mixed doubles with a .591 winning percentage.
“I’ve been part of a great team and it’s been a very enjoyable season,” said Huber.Â “I’m lucky and honored to receive this award and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Huber’s teammate Jean-Julien Rojer was named Male Rookie of the Year.Â Rojer teamed with Roman Borvanov and Mark Philippoussis to finish as the third-ranked men’s doubles team, winning 58 games.Â Rojer partnered with Huber to finish second in mixed doubles, winning 65 games for a .591 winning percentage.
“I would like to thank the St. Louis Aces for drafting me,” said Rojer.Â “They are truly a first-class organization.Â I’m very honored to receive this award.Â I was truly blessed having a wonderful team.Â I’m looking forward to the weekend and hopefully we can bring home a title for the St. Louis Aces.”
For the women, Rookie of the Year goes to Arina Rodionova of the Washington Kastles.Â Â Rodionova finished 5th in the League in women’s singles and teamed with Rennae Stubbs to finish as the League’s third best doubles team.
“I have loved playing World Team Tennis and this honor is the icing on the cake,” said Rodionova.Â “It has been an incredible experience that I will never forget; playing for the Kastles during this amazing undefeated season with Bobby, Leander, Rennae and Murphy.”
Helping to lead Rodionova and Paes to victory this season is Coach Murphy Jensen, who will be awarded Coach of the Year for his efforts, which have earned the Kastles a perfect 14-0 regular season.Â This is Jensen’s third season coaching the Kastles.Â He led the franchise to their first WTT title in 2009 and the Kastles are the top seed in tonight’s Eastern Conference finals.
â€œIâ€™m really honored to be named Coach of the Year for 2011,” said Jensen.Â “I give all the credit to (owner) Mark Ein, my team and my mother and father. I dedicate this season to my father Howard O. Jensen who taught me and showed me everything I know about coaching.â€
The Kastles and the Aces are both the top seeds in their respective divisions at the WTT Finals Weekend.Â Three of the four playoff spots were decided on Thursday, the final night of the 2011 regular season.Â The St. Louis Aces posted a 23-15 win over the Kansas City Explorers to earn the top seed in the West.Â The Boston Lobsters overpowered the Newport Beach Breakers 22-14 to advance toCharleston, where they will take on the Washington Kastles.Â Washingtoncompleted only the second undefeated regular season in WTT’s 36-year history with a 25-11 win over Philadelphia Freedoms.Â The only other team to finish 14-0 during the regular season was the 1994 Newport Beach Dukes.
For more information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visitÂ www.WTT.com/Finals.
SCHEDULE 2011 WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO
July 22-24 – Family Circle Tennis Center inCharleston,S.C.
Friday, July 22 – 7 p.m.:Â Eastern Conference Championship -Â #1 Washington Kastles (14-0) vs. #2 Boston Lobsters (7-7) — Live Video Streaming onhttp://video.wtt.com
Saturday, July 23 – 5 p.m.:Â Western Conference Championship — #1St. LouisAces (8-6) vs. #2SacramentoCapitals (8-6)
Sunday, July 24 – 5 p.m.:Â WTT Finals – Eastern Conference Champion vs. Western Conference Champion — LIVE Broadcast on Tennis Channel // Live Video Streaming onÂ http://video.wtt.com
Courtesy of Â World TeamTennis