The words “Washington” and “champions” aren’t often uttered in the same sentence. Luckily, this summer sees the return of the Washington Kastles, who thrilled local fans last year when they won the World Team Tennis King Trophy in their inaugural season (although being a Washington team, they naturally lost their first four games).
The team’s coach, former French Open doubles champion Murphy Jensen, joined forces with Kastles owner Mark Ein last night to kick off the 2010 season at Chinatown’s Ping Pong Dim Sum. The crowd had one question: Will last year’s success be replicated for local fans who are desperate for some bragging rights? Ein referred to the Kastles as “impending champions” and noted that this season the team had “added another player by the name of Venus Williams.” He turned to Jensen and said, “If you can’t make it with this team, you’ve really screwed up.”
Venus and her teammates (Serena Williams, Leander Paes, Angela Haynes, Bobby Reynolds, and Rennae Stubbs) couldn’t make it to the event, but blogger Pamela Sorensen and Channel 9 sportscaster Brett Haber drank signature “Kastle” cocktails (Midori, sake, white wine, and starfruit) and ate vegetable spring rolls and pork puffs.
Earlier in the day, Ein, Jensen, and Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the launch of the 2010 Kastles season at a press conference at Kastles Stadium. Fenty, a tennis fan who famously got to watch a few games at the Dubai Tennis Championship during his UAE-funded trip in 2009, said, “It’s a great pleasure for the District to have a team like the Washington Kastles.” And according to Jensen, the feeling is mutual. “The fans, ambassadors, and volunteers are just as important to the success of our team as the players,” he said. “I give you guys all the credit.”