1975 World Team Tennis season

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1975 World Team Tennis season
Regular season
DurationMay 2, 1975 – August 16, 1975
Playoffs
Start dateAugust 17, 1975
Eastern Division ChampionsPittsburgh Triangles
Western Division ChampionsSan Francisco Golden Gaters
WTT Finals – Bancroft Cup
DateAugust 25, 1975 (Match 3)
SitePittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Match 3)
ChampionsPittsburgh Triangles
← 1974 WTT Seasons 1976 →

The 1975 World Team Tennis season was the second season of the top professional team tennis league in the United States. The Pittsburgh Triangles defeated the San Francisco Golden Gaters in the WTT Finals to win the league championship.[1][2]

Competition format[edit]

The 1975 World Team Tennis season included 10 teams split into two divisions (Eastern and Western). The league intended for each team to play a regular-season schedule of 44 matches. However, WTT scheduled neutral-site matches to cut down on travel and create events where fans could see multiple teams either with one admission or over the course of a few days. These special events were called WTT Spectaculars.[3][4] Because of these and because of scheduling challenges created when the Houston E-Z Riders suspended operations just days before the season started,[5] the 10 teams in the league did not play an equal number of matches. Seven of them played 44 matches, while three played 46 matches.

The top three teams in each division qualified for the playoffs. The second and third-place teams met in division semifinal matches hosted by the second-place teams. The winners of those matches met the first-place team in the best-of-three division championship series. The division semifinal winners hosted the first match of the division championship series. The first-place team hosted the second and third (if necessary) matches. The division champions met in the best-of-three World Team Tennis Final with the lower seed hosting the first match and the higher seed hosting the second and third (if necessary) matches.[1][2]

Each match comprised one set each of men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.[6] The order of play was women's doubles first, men's doubles third and mixed doubles fifth. The coach of the home team decided whether men's or women's singles would be played second or fourth. Games were decided by the first player or doubles team to reach four points with no-ad scoring. Each set ended when one team had won either six or seven games and had an advantage over its opponent of at least two games. Sets that were tied 6–6 were decided by a tiebreaker. Set tiebreaker games were nine total points with the first player or doubles team to reach five the winner. An advantage of only one point was needed to win a tiebreaker game. Matches could end when one team built an insurmountable lead. For example, if a team had a 24–17 lead after four sets, the fifth set (mixed doubles) would not be played. If a team had a 22–19 lead after four sets, the match could end if the leading team won four games in the fifth set, since it would be impossible for the trailing team to make up the three-game deficit that existed when the set started. If the match was tied at the end of five sets, a super tiebreaker game was played between the mixed doubles teams using the same format as the set tiebreaker games.[7] Teams sometimes agreed to play dead sets even if the outcome of the match had already been decided or to play sets to completion when the outcome of the match was decided within that set.

Franchise movement, expansion and contraction[edit]

On October 16, 1974, Toronto-Buffalo Royals president John F. Bassett announced that the team had been sold to Herbert S. Hoffman and Phyllis Morse who said that they would move it to Hartford, Connecticut.[8]

On October 25, 1974, the Chicago Aces ownership announced that the team was up for sale, and there were ongoing negotiations with several groups of investors including one in Atlanta. The team acknowledged some player salaries were late in being paid and said that the statuses of player contracts would be settled after the team was sold.[9]

On November 18, 1974, Seymour Brode and Marshall Greenspan sold the Detroit Loves to a new ownership group led by William H. Bereman and Dan Domont who moved the team to Indianapolis and changed its name to the Indiana Loves.[10]

Burt McGlynn tried to sell the Minnesota Buckskins to local investors after the 1974 season ended. On November 6, 1974, McGlynn announced that the local interest in the Buckskins had dried up, and the team would either fold or be sold and moved. He mentioned that there was interest from investor groups in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.[11] The investor group from Indianapolis ended up buying the Loves, and the group from Washington decided not to buy the team. On November 26, 1974, WTT announced at its annual meeting that the Buckskins had become the first team in the league to fold.[2][12]

In late 1974, it was reported that owner Ray Ciccolo had lost about $300,000 operating the Boston Lobsters.[13] In early 1975, he was forced to declare bankruptcy.[14]

At the WTT owners meeting on February 1, 1975, each team was required to post a $500,000 letter of credit. Teams that failed to do so—the Baltimore Banners,[15][16] the Boston Lobsters,[13] the Chicago Aces, the Florida Flamingos and the Hartford Royals—were contracted. A dispersal draft was conducted to distribute the players from those five teams among the remaining teams in the league.[17]

On February 6, 1975, Bud Fischer, Frank Goldberg and Ben Press sold the defending WTT champion Denver Racquets to a new ownership group that included Reggie Jackson and his agent Gary K. Walker who moved the team to Phoenix, Arizona and changed its name to the Phoenix Racquets.[18][19]

A group of investors that included Bob Mades, Paul Slater, Herbert S. Hoffman, Robert K. Kraft and Harold Bayne emerged as a potential owner for the franchise in Boston. However, the Lobsters had already been contracted by WTT. The group purchased the Philadelphia Freedoms on March 27, and moved the team to Boston. In order to claim the name of the original Lobsters, the new ownership group would be required to settle some of the debts of the former team. The new owners decided to do this and renamed the Freedoms the Boston Lobsters.[13][17]

Shortly before the start of the 1975 season, WTT granted an expansion franchise to Frank Mariani to play in San Diego. Mariani named the team the San Diego Friars.[20]

While several of the original 16 WTT franchises from 1974, had financial difficulties resulting in six of them not returning for and four of them moving before the 1975 season, the Houston E-Z Riders had made plans to go forward in Houston. The team was to play its 1975 home matches in the brand new Astroarena.[21] However, just before the season started, on May 2, 1975, team president and vice-president E.Z. and Betty Jones announced that the E-Z Riders were suspending operations for the 1975 season. Players under contract with the team could be loaned to other WTT teams, and the E-Z Riders had the right to protect four players to return for the 1976 season. There were rumors that the E-Z Riders were behind on their financial obligations. However, E.Z. Jones said, "We are 100% current with our league obligations and our player salaries and have even made salary advances." In order to return to WTT in 1976, the E-Z Riders would need to meet certain league financial requirements and exercise an option by September 15, 1975.[5] The suspension of operations was so sudden and unexpected that newspaper advertisements for E-Z Riders home matches continued to run after the announcement.[21] The E-Z Riders did not exercise their option to return to the league in 1976, and the team folded on September 15, 1975.[2]

Player draft[edit]

Several high-profile public figures were selected in the 1974 WTT draft. These included comedians Johnny Carson and Bill Cosby, Stan Malless, president of the United States Lawn Tennis Association which objected to WTT, 11-year-old Tracy Austin, Dean Paul Martin, Jr., two-sport star John Lucas and Elton John. Perhaps the most noteworthy selection occurred when Freedoms player-coach Billie Jean King used the team's seventh round pick to select Bobby Riggs whom she had beaten 14 months earlier in the Battle of the Sexes. Stan Smith and Ilie Năstase were chosen by the New York Sets. Ken Rosewall, Manuel Santana, Pancho Gonzales, Andrés Gimeno, Pierre Barthès and Alex Metreveli (Georgian: ალექსანდრე მეტრეველი) were selected by the Hartford Royals. Roy Emerson and Vijay Amritraj (Tamil: விஜய் அம்ரித்ராஜ்) were chosen by the Los Angeles Strings. Olga Morozova (Ольга Васильевна Морозова) was selected by the Houston E-Z Riders. Clark Graebner and Ove Bengtson were chosen by the Cleveland Nets. Joaquín Loyo-Mayo was selected by the San Francisco Golden Gaters. Jeff Borowiak was chosen by the Hawaii Leis. Julie Heldman was selected by the Chicago Aces. Jan Kodeš was chosen by the Baltimore Banners. Chris Evert was selected by the Florida Flamingos. The top overall selection was Colin Dibley who was chosen by the original Boston Lobsters.[22] The San Diego Friars did not make any selections, because the team had not yet been founded.

Standings and attendance[edit]

Reference: [1][2]

Total attendance during the season was 503,858, for an average of 3,053 over 165 playing dates.[23]

Playoff bracket[edit]

Reference: [1][2]

  Division Semifinals
(August 17)
Division Championships
(August 18–20)
WTT Finals
(August 21–25)
                           
       
  E1 Pittsburgh Triangles 2  
Eastern Division
    E3 Boston Lobsters 0  
E2 New York Sets 24
  E3 Boston Lobsters 25  
    1 Pittsburgh Triangles 2
  3 San Francisco Golden Gaters 1
         
       
W1 San Francisco Golden Gaters 2
Western Division
    W2 Phoenix Racquets 0  
W2 Phoenix Racquets 20
  W3 Los Angeles Strings 8  

Playoff match results[edit]

Reference: [1][2]

  • Home teams are in CAPS.

Of the total of 9 playoff matches, home teams won 6 and lost 3. The higher seeds had 5 wins and 1 loss in their 6 home matches. The higher seeds won 4 of the 5 matchups.

Individual statistical leaders[edit]

The table below shows the individual players and doubles teams who had the best winning percentages in each of the five events in WTT.[2]

Event Player(s) Team
Men's singles Marty Riessen Cleveland Nets
Women's singles Billie Jean King New York Sets
Men's doubles Frew McMillan and Tom Okker San Francisco Golden Gaters
Women's doubles Billie Jean King and Mona Guerrant New York Sets
Mixed doubles Betty Stöve and Frew McMillan San Francisco Golden Gaters

Individual honors[edit]

Reference: [2]

Award Recipient Team
Male Most Valuable Player Tom Okker San Francisco Golden Gaters
Female Most Valuable Player Evonne Goolagong Pittsburgh Triangles
Male All-Star Match Most Valuable Player Marty Riessen Cleveland Nets
Female All-Star Match Most Valuable Player Greer Stevens Boston Lobsters
Male Rookie of the Year Marty Riessen Cleveland Nets
Female Rookie of the Year Greer Stevens Boston Lobsters
Coach of the Year Frew McMillan San Francisco Golden Gaters
Playoffs Most Valuable Player Vitas Gerulaitis Pittsburgh Triangles

All-Star Match[edit]

WTT held its inaugural All-Star Match on July 13, 1975, at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena as part of the evening session of a WTT Spectacular in front of 7,112 fans. The afternoon session drew a crowd of only 1,159. The East defeated the West, 28–21.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "World Team Tennis Life Events". World TeamTennis. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dmitry, Steve (1998). "Steve Dimitry's Extinct Sports Leagues: World Team Tennis (1974–1978)". Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  3. ^ Leonard, Vince (July 28, 1975). "World Team Tennis Puts House in Order". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 22. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  4. ^ Jares, Joe (May 12, 1975). "Patching a Tattered Image: A Crazy-Quilt Court Will Add Even More Color, and "Spectaculars" May Cut Costs as World Team Tennis Revs Up and Moves into Its Second Season". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Riders Withdraw for '75". San Antonio Express. May 3, 1975. p. 32.
  6. ^ Cisco, Dan (1999). "Tennis". Hawai'i Sports: History, Facts, & Statistics. Latitude 20 Book Series. University of Hawai'i Press. p. 332. ISBN 0-8248-2121-1. LCCN 98048396. Retrieved August 30, 2014 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Innovations to Spice Play". Arizona Republic. May 2, 1976. p. 125.
  8. ^ "WTT Franchise Sold to Harford, Conn". Playground Daily News. October 17, 1974. p. 18.
  9. ^ "Team Tennis Aces May Double Fault". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 26, 1974. p. 10. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  10. ^ "Detroit Loves Will be Moved". The Evening News. Newburg, New York. November 19, 1974. p. 9B. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  11. ^ "Buckskins out of WTT?". The Argus. Fremont, California. November 7, 1974.
  12. ^ "Billie Jean Picks Riggs in WTT Draft". Bakersfield Californian. November 27, 1974. p. 18.
  13. ^ a b c Crossley, Andy (October 25, 2012). "1974-1978 Boston Lobsters". Fun While It Lasted. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  14. ^ Smith, Kelsie (July 5, 2005). "Lobsters Hoping for Tennis Revival". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  15. ^ Crossley, Andy (February 1, 2013). "1974 Baltimore Banners". Fun While It Lasted. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  16. ^ Cummings, Jim (May 7, 2014). "Cummings and Goings". United States Tennis Association. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  17. ^ a b "New Boston Net Team Obtains Six Backers". Berkshire Eagle. March 28, 1975. p. 18.
  18. ^ Crossley, Andy (September 14, 2013). "1974 Denver Racquets". Fun While It Lasted. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  19. ^ "A Roundup of the Week Feb. 3-9". Sports Illustrated. February 17, 1975. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  20. ^ DiRenzo, Joe (July 30, 1977). "The Tennis Scene". Annapolis Capital. p. 32.
  21. ^ a b "The Houston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Delta Delta Sorority is Presenting an Evening of Tennis Saturday in the Astro Arena". The Galveston Daily News. May 11, 1975. p. 11.
  22. ^ "Billie Jean Drafts Bobby Riggs". Bangor Daily News. November 27, 1974. p. 18. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  23. ^ "Can Laver, Evert Save Team Net?". Chicago Tribune. February 18, 1976. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  24. ^ "Cawley Helps Put Triangles in Team Tennis East Lead". The News-Star. Monroe, Louisiana. p. 14.

External links[edit]