If you did not realize World Team Tennis still existed, you’re not alone.
Gigi Fernandez, who will coach the New York Empire and serves as the only current woman coach among the six World Team Tennis squads and just the 10th in the league’s 42-year history, would like to change that. And she will get some help in doing so from a new, exciting home court and a roster than includes a couple of stars from today’s game.
The Empire will play on the 2,800-seat Court 17 mini-stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and Fernandez hopes to do all she can to foster a rowdy, Davis Cup-like atmosphere. She calls the Court “a perfect New York environment.’’
Indeed, the goal of Fernandez and the Empire — who open against the Philadelphia Freedoms on July 16 — is to create more of a home-court edge than the team had while playing at Forest Hills Stadium last year.
“You can harass the players,’’ she said with a smile. “I’ll be starting the wave. It’s like no mercy for your opponent.’’
The Empire roster includes towering 6-foot-10 men’s serve-and-volley force John Isner, who will face Philly’s Donald Young in the July 16 opening match, and Canadian Genie Bouchard, who will play two home matches, July 27 and 28. Isner and Bouchard are the team’s two “marquee’’ players and will not play the entire schedule, which runs for 14 matches from July 16-Aug. 2.
Mardy Fish, Kirsten Flipkens, Guido Pella and Maria Sanchez make up the…