Orlando Storm WTT Report

By Don Leclair

The Author Don Leclair and Storm players Darija Jurak and Whitney Osuigwe.

Orlando, Florida is my home and the home of several national sports franchises like Orlando Magic. This year we added World Team Tennis’ new team Orlando Storm. I wasn’t sure, at first, if it would interest me since I have never paid much attention to WTT. However, as the time grew near for the July 14th debut, I decided to give it a try. The team included some of my favorite players like Feliciano Lopez of Spainand Ken Skupski from England. It would only set me back about $50 for the entire 2 weeks so what did I have to lose.

The team performed seven home matches and to say I got my money’s worth would be an understatement.I took to this format like a duck to water and quickly learned the unique scoring format. Soon I became the Orlando Storm’s #1 fan cheering like a madman in the bleachers as well as on social media. I am an amateur photographer and these matches were incredibly fun and colorful to take photos of. Some of my most memorable moments would have to include the kid friendly emphasis from this league. During halftime,pros would hit with some of the kids, then after the matches, every player and coach would line up and sign autographs for every child. That, along with a killer DJ and hilarious MC Brian Fenley, made for a very entertaining and fan friendly atmosphere.

I had a chance, during these two weeks, to see many ATP players I was familiar with. I also met many I had never seen play before. One by one the other teams from the league visited Orlando from places like New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. This gave me the chance to get familiar with WTA players I had never seen play before either. It has also re-ignited my interest in women’s tennis doubles and mixed doubles for sure. 

I honestly hope the Orlando Storm will become a permanent fixture on this league. It has made the already busy and exciting National Campus even more wonderful and appealing. From what I could tell, ticket sales did very well and I know for sure the final home match was totally sold out. It was great to see all these fans leaving happy each evening and taking home freebies like t-shirts and hats as well as autographs and selfies. Overall, it seems the Orlando Storm has become the most successful event to date for the USTA National Campus, and appears to be something we didn’t know we needed until we got it. For me, I was more than delighted by it all and hope the Storm will call Orlando home for many years to come.

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  • catherine · August 1, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Seems like Jeff’s idea of WTT has already come to fruition, in Orlando anyway. I wonder what the pay is cf regular Challenger level tournaments ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 1, 2019 at 10:37 am

    WTT can be super competitive, an insider told me a few years ago Mardy Fish got into it with another player twice. Paes and McEnroe went at it. Kendrick had a battle in WTT with someone. You get some good intense feisty tennis in WTT which some would not believe as it’s more fun and family oriented. Don, were there any heated intense moments this year in Orlando?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 1, 2019 at 11:33 am

    The Orlando Storm, under coach Scott Lipsky, finished 4-10 on the season, one place ahead of last place Washington Kastles. Key players were Feli Lopez, Whitney Osuigwe, Ken Skupski, Evan King and Darija Jurak.



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