San Diego tennis team to face Orange County
CARLSBAD (KUSI) — The defending World TeamTennis champion San Diego Aviators will face the Orange County Breakers, whose roster includes Maria Sharapova, Sunday at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in the season opener for both teams
Sharapova, who had five stints as the No. 1 player on the Women’s Tennis Association singles rankings, most recently in 2012, is scheduled to play for the first time since May 16, when a thigh injury forced her to retire from her match she was leading Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 4-6, 6-3, 2-1.
Sharapova was suspended Jan. 26, 2016, by the International Tennis Federation for an anti-doping rule violation. She regained her eligibility to play on April 26.
She reached the semifinals of her first tournament following her suspension, the $719,000 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, then lost in the second round of both her tournaments since then.
All four players who played for the Aviators in their 25-14 victory over the Breakers in last year’s finals return — Ryan Harrison, the league’s 2016 male MVP, Raven Klaasen, the 2016 WTT Finals MVP, Shelby Rogers and Darija Jurak.
Harrison will play in four of the team’s 14 matches this season. The Aviators added Rajeev Ram, Klaasen’s doubles partner on the Association of
Tennis Professionals circuit. The two have teamed to win five titles on the ATP circuit since 2015, including two this year.
Ram teamed with Venus Williams to win the silver medal in mixed doubles at the Rio Olympics.
World TeamTennis matches consist of one set each of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles, with the team winning the most games winning the match.