Rockin’ Lobsters housed in Middleton

Joshua Boyd

Before the Boston Lobsters’ July 7 home-opener even happened, the Lobsters (playing in the World TeamTennis, or WTT, league) sold out their July 10 game at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton.

Why? They received a special guest that evening, none other than the one and only Venus Williams. Before joining her WTT team, the Philadelphia Freedoms, Williams defeated her sister Serena for the 2008 Wimbledon women’s singles title, and then joined Serena to win the Wimbledon doubles title.

The WTT this season not only includes Venus, but also other high-profile tennis stars like Serena (Washington Kastles), Lindsay Davenport (Newport Beach Breakers), Andy Roddick and Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces) and John McEnroe (New York Sportimes) and the Bryan twins, Mike and Bob, who helped the U.S. win the Davis Cup in 2007.

And those are just the Lobsters opponents. The Lobsters this year will include, at various times, 19-year WTT veteran and International Tennis Hall of Fame member Martina Navratilova. Navratilova is scheduled to play in Middleton on July 16 vs. Springfield and on July 19 against Newport Beach.

The Lobsters also include, this year, former No. 14 men’s singles player Jan-Michael Gambill, Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award Co-Winner Amir Hadad, and up-and-coming young players Raquel Kops-Jones and Marie-Eve Pelletier.

The team is coached by Tim Mayotte, a former No. 7 overall player and a Silver medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The team’s only Massachusetts native (from Springfield) also served as a tennis analyst for three different television networks over the years. 

The Lobsters started out 2-2 going into the match against Venus and the Freedoms. Gambill was third in the league in winning percentage, taking 52 percent of his total games (13-12). Hadad was 5-3. Pelletier held a .429 winning percentage with a 12-16 record, while Kops-Jones was 2-5.

On the doubles side, Hadad and Kops-Jones have teamed up for the second-best mixed doubles team in the league at 13-8 overall.

Games are played with wins given to the first individual or team to four points (the scoring system of love, 15, 30, etc., is not used). If a game is tied 4-4, there is a nine-point tiebreaker.

Without McEnroe or Navratilova, the Lobsters and Sportimes played to a 19-18 victory for New York in the July 3 opener. They rebounded on July 7 with a 23-19 win over the Delaware Smash at home.

On July 8, Serena defeated Pelletier in a 5-2 women’s singles match, but Boston won the overall match with a 22-19 victory over the Kastles. The team also faced New York, but fell, on July 6. No statistics were available for the match, however.

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