2018 TeamMarch 15, 2018
Coach Lloyd and GM Jim Ault came out strong in yesterday’s WTT draft, selecting a combination of big-hitting talent and established veterans for our 2018 roster. Naomi Broady and Marcus Willis will round out an all-British singles lineup, with Marcin Matkowski and Anna-Lena Gronefeld bringing solid experience and skill on the doubles front.
As runners-up in the 2017 season, the Aviators had the second to last pick in each round of the draft. With our first round pick, we selected newcomer Marcus Willis, who made his debut on the ATP tour in 2016. While Willis will surely bring his big leftie game to men’s singles, he also packs a punch in the doubles lineup — as Wimbledon wildcards in 2017, Willis and his doubles partner Jay Clarke ousted defending champs Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Naomi Broady, the 6’2”, 28-year-old big server from England, was protected by the Aviators to ensure her return for a second consecutive season on our team, her third year of World TeamTennis. She was a dynamic part of the 2017 team both on the court and on the bench, cheering for her teammates. Of playing WTT, Broady has said, “I just love the atmosphere. The competitiveness in those pressure moments are what I love the most in tennis and the format of World TeamTennis means it’s like that from the first point. I thrive in that environment.”
In the second round, Marcin Matkowski was selected. He is a proven doubles specialist with eight titles and five finals appearances to his credit, and who most recently reached the quarterfinals in Dubai this past February. The 37-year-old who hails from Poland, reached a career-high doubles ranking of No. 7 in 2012 and has been firmly planted inside the ATP Top 50 doubles rankings since 2005. He steps into the position formerly held by four-year Aviators men’s doubles player Raven Klaasen, who will be taking the season off to spend time with his growing family.
Closing out the roster is doubles specialist Anna-Lena Gronefeld, a two-time mixed doubles Grand Slam champion whose current WTA doubles ranking sits at a formidable No. 21. No stranger to the team tennis format, she’s a 13-year Fed Cup player and current member of Team Germany, and she most recently played for the Springfield Lasers in the 2017 WTT season. Following the draft, Gronefeld tweeted, “Excited to be part of the @SanDiegoAviators for the first time!”
Coach John Lloyd summed up his 2018 squad in one word: “Firepower.”