San Diego tennis team to begin second season at new home


The San Diego Aviators of World TeamTennis will open its second season July 12 with a new home court, coach and owner and nearly an entirely new team.

The Aviators have moved to Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad from the Valley View Casino Center. They will be coached by former British Davis Cup captain John Lloyd.

San Diego businessman Fred Luddy acquired the team from Russell Geyser following the conclusion of last season. Former San Diego City Manager Jack McGrory will remain as a minority partner. Billy Berger will be the team’s CEO for a second season.

South African Davis Cup player Raven Klaasen will be the only player returning from the team that finished first in the four-team Western Conference with a league-best equaling 10-4 record, but lost to the Springfield Lasers in the Western Conference Championship.

The Aviators chose 17-year-old Taylor Fritz, who is first in the boys’ rankings compiled by the International Tennis Federation, the sport’s worldwide governing body, in the first round of the league’s draft.

The Rancho Santa Fe resident will miss the July 12 match against the Sacramento-based California Dream because he played a semifinal boys’ doubles match at Wimbledon Saturday. He is expected to join the team Monday, July 13.

Fritz will be replaced in the lineup tonight by 18-year-old Kalman Boyd, a Rancho Santa Fe resident who has signed a letter of intent with USC.

The Aviators’ female players are Darija Jurak of Croatia, a winner of 38 ITF doubles tournaments and eight singles tournaments, and South African Chani Scheepers, a winner of 20 ITF doubles tournaments and 12 singles tournaments.

American Madison Keys, who reached the women’s singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon, is scheduled to play for the Aviators on July 27 and July 28.

Lloyd will also miss tonight’s match because of his commitment to be a broadcaster at Wimbledon for the BBC. The Aviators will be coached by James Blake, a 10-time singles champion on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour between 2002 and 2007.

Blake will also play at halftime against San Diego Chargers kicker Nick Novak.

World TeamTennis matches consist of one set each of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, with the team winning the most games winning the match.

The league is beginning its 40th season. It began play in 1974, suspended operations following the 1978 season, then returned to action in 1981. The 40th season of Mylan World TeamTennis will run July 12-Aug. 2.

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