WTT: Doubles pair Groenefeld, Peschke join Sportimes roster
NEW YORK German standout Anna-Lena Groenefeld, a former top-15 singles player currently ranked at No. 19 in the world in doubles, was selected by the NY Sportimes in the World Team-Tennis roster draft Tuesday in Indian Wells, Calif.
Groenefeld, who competed for the Orange County Breakers in 2012, will be joined by her doubles partner, Kveta Peschke, formerly No. 1 in doubles and now ranked at No. 17. The Sportimes have also retained their two men’s players from the past several years, Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten.
The four join John McEnroe, the Sportimes’ captain and marquee player, who is scheduled to play three matches this season, as announced Monday. The team also announced that it has sold the rights to Martina Hingis, who will play an abbreviated season for the Washington Kastles this summer after being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Sportimes acquired the rights to Groenefeld, then selected her in the third round of the draft. She was ranked as high as No. 14 in the world in singles in 2006, finishing the year at No. 19 and winning a championship at Acapulco.
In her career, Groenefeld has had two semifinal and five quarterfinal singles appearances.
Groenefeld, 27, has won 11 WTA doubles crowns and has reached 14 other finals, including three in 2012. She has one career Grand Slam win, in mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2009 with Mark Knowles.
Peschke, 37, who served as a substitute for the Sportimes in last year’s WTT finals weekend, has won 23 career WTA doubles titles, and was a member of the 2011 Fed Cup team representing her native Czech Republic. Her most recent doubles championship was at Sydney in 2012.
She has one Grand Slam title, taking the 2011 doubles at Wimbledon with Katarina Srebotnik, and one career WTA singles crown, at Makarska, Croatia, in 1998.
Kendrick, a popular American player, will be competing for the Sportimes for the sixth season since 2002. He was a member of the Sportimes’ WTT championship team in 2005, and was protected by New York in the first round of the draft. Kendrick, 33, has been ranked as high as No. 69 on the ATP World Tour.
Witten, playing his seventh consecutive year with the Sportimes, was the team’s second-round selection. Witten, 30, a five-time All American at the University of Kentucky, is in his seventh year on the ATP Tour, and has been ranked as high as No. 163 in singles, reaching the third round of the US Open in 2009. Witten was WTT Rookie of the Year in 2007.
Speaking about the Sportimes’ squad, team owner Claude Okin said, “We will miss Martina Hingis as a member of the Sportimes. I will always consider her a Sportime, and I know that she will be a tough competitor to face when we compete against our rival Washington squad.
“When the opportunity to get two current top-10 doubles stars for the full season was available, I had to make that call. Kveta had been spectacular for us at last year’s finals and equally impressive in 2010, when she helped Kansas City beat us in the finals, and she and Anna are a top everyday doubles team on the WTA Tour.
“Our goal is to win a WTT championship in 2013 and to beat Washington along the way, and this team is designed to accomplish that.”
The Sportimes open the home schedule on July 9 against Springfield (featuring Andy Roddick) at SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany. New York will play four other matches in Albany, on July 12, July 15 (featuring Sloane Stephens for Philadelphia), July 16 and July 18 (featuring McEnroe against Orange County) and two at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York (July 22 and July 23). McEnroe will be playing at Randall’s Island on one of those dates, which will be a special night to raise funds for the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a charitable foundation established by McEnroe and Sportime to raise money to advance youth tennis in the New York Metropolitan area.