Kastles delight star-studded crowd with 33rd straight win

Kastles delight star-studded crowd with 33rd straight win
July 8, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Kastles make history with 33rd-straight win

In the Washington Kastles' world, Monday was a good day.

During the afternoon, members of last season's World Team Tennis championship team visited the Oval Office. Yes, President Barack Obama was there.

Next, this year's roster ventured to the Southwest Waterfront, to Kastles Stadium on the Wharf for the 2013 season opener. First lady Michelle Obama showed. So did Billie Jean King, former Redskins great John Riggins and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. The starry and sold out crowd came to watch the two-time defending champions keep their lengthy winning streak alive.

The day started with the Kastles count at 32 straight victories. The day ended with the streak intact, now 33 consecutive matches. From the Kastles and WTT perspective, it tied the mark set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak ever by a major U.S. pro sports team.

Yes, that's a good day.

"Three hours ago, I was with the President," Kastles coach Murphy Jensen said following the decisive 23-15 win over the New York Sportimes. "To go from the Oval Office to Kastles Stadium and to hit 33 straight wins, my head's about to explode."

Despite the anticipation and the headliner day, the Kastles kept their heads on straight as they stroked winners from all angles before engaged fans that had witnessed this victorious display many times before.

"It's kind of indescribable, a day like that," said Kastles owner Mark Ein, the man who started the franchise from scratch. "It could only be topped by another win tomorrow."

On Tuesday, Washington goes for No. 34 against the Boston Lobsters, the last team to figure out a winning formula against the Kastles. The match can be seen on CSN starting at 7 p.m.

Before the latest triumph, the team received their championship rings with Riggins part of the ceremony as an honorary Kastle for the day.

That added to day's excitement for Jensen, who grew up a Riggins fan despite not being from the D.C. area. Jensen left tickets for the former Redskins runner during every home match over the last four years, not that Riggins knew about the gesture. When it was his turn during the ring ceremony, Jensen exclaimed, "Oh my god, thank you Mr. Riggins."

Playing in cool conditions thanks to the cooperating sun, Washington was hot from the start, winning the first three sets against New York and four of five overall. Making her Kastles debut and subbing for the injured Venus Williams, former world No. 1 Martina Hingis played in three sets on the same day she arrived from London after participating in events at Wimbledon.

With Williams offering encouragement from the sideline, Hingis cruised to a 5-1 victory in women's singles and paired with Leander Paes for a mixed doubles triumph.

As one of the new players on the roster, Hingis copped to feeling pressure. Hey, nobody wants to be the jinx.

"They have this winning streak and you don't want to break it," said the grinning 15-time grand slam champion.

Also making his debut, world No. 22 Kevin Anderson who dropped Jesse Witten 5-2 in the opening set.

The newcomers are key to the Kastles hopes of a three-peat, but for this night and Tuesday's match, the journey to this moment takes equal billing if not a little more.

Talking as a coach, Jensen said, "We don't about streaks and stuff like that. Talking as the excitable and outgoing human that he is, Jensen couldn't deny the streak's importance and the joy received from the many wins with his current and former players.

"It's massive," Jensen said of the ongoing streak. "People call this a team. I call it a family."

Talk about a good day to share with family.