The rules and overall vibe of the World Team Tennis-brand of play practiced by the Washington Kastles may leave some tennis purists cold, but when it comes to securing plum locations for the team to play, even the stodgiest Wimbledon audience would have to approve.
For its first three seasons, the Kastles played their matches in a temporary stadium erected on the parking lot where the old convention center used to be downtown. It was convenient, to be sure, but more importantly it was picturesque. Surrounded on all sides by tall city buildings (well, tall by Washington standards), the location gave the experimental team tennis franchise the feel of a lively, urban, sports-themed party.
That spot was always going to be temporary, though, and now that the massive CityCenter DC development project is at last under construction, the Kastles have moved to the Southwest Waterfront. Finishing touches have yet to be put in place for the first match of the 2011 season (featuring Venus Williams against the Kansas City Explorers July 5), but the Kastles were kind enough to give us a sneak peek of what tennis along the waterfront will look like this summer.
In an effort to maximize on waterfront charm, fans will be able to wander along the upper promenade during matches without technically exiting the stadium. And earlier this week, the Kastles announced they'd be providing limited boat parking at Gangplank Marina for season ticket holders.
The new location will also allow the Kastles to keep the stadium in place continuously for at least two years, which leaves room for special events. Already on the books: A charity soccer event with Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra on July 31, and next spring, a potential partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Tickets and information on the upcoming season at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf can be found at the Kastles Web site.