For area tennis enthusiasts, and sports fans in general, Tuesday night is shaping up as one that could score DC a record for US professional sports—a 34-match winning streak for the hometown sports franchise the Washington Kastles. The city’s four-year-old World Team Tennis franchise will compete against the Boston Lobsters at 7 PM at its stadium on Maine Avenue. Adding sparkle to Monday night’s sold-out opening rounds of the tournament, where the Kastles beat the New York Sportimes 23 to 15, were the celebs in the stands, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Mayor Vincent Gray, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, football legend John Riggins, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
The owner of the Kastles, Washington businessman Mark Ein, has been nothing if not fiercely focused on drawing attention and crowds to his stadium and franchise. The draw, in part, is the well-known members of the Kastles roster: Leander Paes, Kevin Anderson, Bobby Reynolds, Anastasia Rodionova, and Martina Hingis, subbing in for Venus Williams, who was sidelined due to an injury. The coach is Murphy Jensen.
The First Lady sat at one of the private tables overlooking the court. In the owner’s box with Ein were Gray, Jarrett, Pritzker, the First Lady’s chief of staff, Tina Tchen, former Louisiana senator John Breaux, seniors tennis champion Danny Waldman, and Ein’s fianceé, Sally Stiebel. Also at the match: White House chef Sam Kass, Nationals co-owner Ed Cohen, and Cora Masters Barry.
With three championships to their credit, and possibly another one on the way, Jensen being named Coach of the Year twice, and a roster that boasts dozens of individual world titles, the Kastles can stand proud beside the more senior—if not dominant—DC sports franchises in football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Jensen called his crew the “winningest team in DC,” which, so far, is true. The only comparable winning streak happened in Los Angeles in 1971 and ’72, when the Lakers won 33 games in a row, a historic run that the Kastles matched Monday.
In addition to Tuesday’s game, there will be home matches on five dates: July 11, 17, 20, 22, and 24, and on the 25th and 28th if the Kastles once again make it to the championship rounds.