2018 Draft March 13thMarch 08, 2018
Draft Day Approaches!
Aviators to pick 2018 roster Tuesday, March 13
Excitement is high in the Aviators offices, and it’s only partly because of the world-class tennis that’s underway at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. What’s really got us going is the approaching WTT draft, coming up next Tuesday, March 13, when Aviators Coach John Lloyd and GM Jim Ault will select the 2018 players who’ll wear Aviator red and bring the King Trophy back to its rightful home in San Diego! Since the WTT draft is a little less well-known than, say, the NFL or NBA draft, we thought we’d fill you in on how it all comes together.
Why play WTT?
It’s no secret why some of the biggest names in the game come out to play World TeamTennis. “Playing on tour is very lonely,” says Ault. “Back in Laver’s and Connors’ day, players traveled together. Now, players travel with an entourage of trainers and coaches, and in some ways, it isn’t really that much fun — it’s just work, work, work, and there’s no team involvement. So, playing on a team, you’ve got your teammates cheering you on, hoping you do well, and you also have coaching on the court.”
The WTT match structure is also a great way to for players to tighten up their game. “I really feel that the format of World TeamTennis actually helps players as they go back on tour again, being that every point is so valuable in World TeamTennis. It’s like a match point,” says Ault. “In standard tennis — whether it’s best of three or five sets — if you lose a set here or there, there’s still a great chance to come back in the match, but in WTT if you’re down two breaks, you’re done. They know that, and they know that every point could throw the match in either direction, so I think that’s why the players like it. We’ve seen a lot of players play some really good tennis back on tour after their WTT season.”
Of course, the ultimate question is how to get the players we want in here San Diego, but Ault has an answer for that, too. “Not to brag, but I really feel like we have one of the best venues in WTT,” he says. “Being at Omni La Costa, our announcer, our DJ, our livestreaming — our whole staff makes us stand out.”
Draft Day Strategy
The WTT recruiting team has already been hard at work reaching out to players on the ATP and WTA tours to attract them to come and play this summer. The individual team GMs have been doing their homework, too — scouting new talent to gauge their interest and contacting former players to return for a new season. Since teams can protect players from the previous season, there’s great opportunity to bring back that chemistry for another season. Though a lot is on the line as teams are being formulated, it’s a great way to kick off the year and fire up some friendly competition between the teams.
While the Aviators and other teams are looking to fill a minimum of four spots on their main roster — Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Singles, and Women’s Doubles — things get tricky when it comes time to decide which position to fill first. Players are being recruited up until the night before the draft, which can result in some quick scrambling on draft day. It also means all the strategizing teams may have done beforehand could go right out the window, making it nearly impossible to predict what the other teams will do once draft players are announced. “That’s where it gets fun,” says Ault. “You have no idea what they’re going to do first round. You can guess and do some research on who you think they’re going to pick, but they could change it up on you.”
So, what’s Ault’s opinion on how to create that perfect team — is it stars, or is it chemistry?
“I think it has to be a combination of both,” he says. “In a team atmosphere, [players’] relationships and personalities really play into it because you want to blend a team, as far as cohesiveness. You may not have the number one pick, but if you can get a great team together who wins a couple extra points here or there because they are such a tight knit unit, I think that is key. It’s about what team will function well together. It shouldn’t have to be a ‘star’ player. All of these tennis players are amazing athletes.”
Ault and Lloyd will put their planning to the test as the draft kicks off Tuesday at 9am PST, when it will be livestreamed on Facebook live and on WTT.com. Tune in to see who you’ll be cheering on this summer at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa!
Buying a season ticket gets you access to the best seats for all 7 home matches and includes options exclusive only to our season ticket holders.
- One match free (paying for 6 matches but you get to attend all 7)
- Access to Season Ticket Holder Lounge
- Welcome Party with our Players
- Aviator Merchandise
- And for a limited time.......Season Parking ($70 value)