Entering the 6th year, the 2018 Raleigh Pro League is gearing up for its best season yet. As the only professional prize money tennis league in the Triangle area, sports fans and tennis enthusiasts will be treated to the most fun and exciting tennis competition around. This year the team-oriented league has expanded to 6 teams with a good mix of returning and new players consisting of local tennis teaching professionals, former ATP tour, NCAA, and Davis Cup players, and other high-level tennis players from the Triangle and beyond.
The 2018 season kicks off this Friday, June 8 at North Ridge Country Club as Team Brier Creek Orthodontics takes on Team Wake Orthopaedics with the match starting at 7pm. As usual, Raleigh Pro League matches are fun and designed as an experience for the entire family as fans pull for their favorite players and teams. Admission is 100% free, and North Ridge Country Club will be offering courtside food and beverage specials to enjoy while watching the matches.
Raleigh Pro League tennis is structured to be similar to World Team Tennis where there is a lot of interaction between the players and fans before, after, and even during the matches. There are some specific fan activities that individual match venues are working on as we speak…
” This year, matches are being played at 9 different venues in Raleigh, Cary, and Wake Forest with food specials, drawings, and giveaways held at most venues weekly. Its a great way to spend a Friday night with friends and family watching exciting team tennis. The 2018 season runs through August 24 when the Championship will be determined…
— Bill Edwards, League Coordinator
The 2018 Raleigh Pro League’s title sponsor is Smart Athlete PhysioTherapy, and the teams are sponsored by Alfred Williams & Company, White Dahlia, Wake Orthopaedics, Brier Creek Orthodontics, Mosquito Authority, and RDUTennis. Other league partners including Omega Sports, North State Bank, Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken, The Atlantic Tire Championships, and a few others.
As far as players to watch this year, there are so many, but a few that should be on your radar include Ben Wagland (former 3-time All-American at University of Georgia, held NCAA #1 ranking in doubles), Jonathan Stokke (currently Associate Head Men’s Tennis Coach at Duke and former All-American at Duke, played the main draw of the US open), Kyle Spencer (currently NCSU Head Men’s Tennis Coach, former All-American at University of Southern California, represented Great Britain in Olympic Games, won 7 ATP titles), Joanna Nalborska (former NCAA top-75 player at NCSU and Louisiana Tech, #1 ranked junior in Poland).
Courtney (Nagle) Broadstone (currently Asst Women’s Tennis Coach UNC, former All-American at University of Oregon, won 15 doubles titles on ATP tour, ranked #97 in the world in doubles, played World Team Tennis for Philadelphia Freedom), Martina (Nedelkova) Somoano (former 2-time All-American at Virginia Commonwealth University, ITF World Junior Doubles Champion), Sandhya Nagaraj (former All-Conference star at NCSU, #7 NCAA doubles ranking, WTA Top-500 World Tour ranking).
Of course, there are a couple of younger players that could really shine, but we’ll wait and see if that happens. Since it’s beginning, the Raleigh Pro League continues to bring high-level tennis to fans and enthusiasts in the greater Raleigh area and provides a platform for the areas best players to compete against each other in an exciting and entertaining format.
Raleigh Pro League Tennis History
The Raleigh Pro League was founded in 2010 to showcase the best adult tennis players in the greater Raleigh area. The league is open to any player with an NTRP 5.0 rating or higher. Most of the players are area teaching professionals and former college players, many of which played on the professional tour and some in Davis Cup competition. Matches are played at area racquet clubs, country clubs, and public tennis facilities between June and August. Raleigh Pro League matches are open to the public, and there is no admission fee. Fans and spectators are encouraged to be loud during each match for a Davis Cup atmosphere.
Competition is team based. The match format consists of 2 Men’s doubles courts, 1 Ladies doubles court and 1 Mixed Doubles court. All courts are played at the same time and are best of 3 sets with a 10-point tiebreak played in lieu of the 3rd set. Teams win 1 point for each court won. If the match is tied at 2 courts each, A Captain’s Choice Super-Tiebreak is played to determine the match winner.
Each team Captain chooses a male and female player to represent their team, and a 10-point super-tiebreak is played to determine the match winner. The winning team receives 1-point for winning the overall match. Each team consists of 12 players (7 males and 5 females), and players are selected to the teams through a draft that takes place in April or May.
Teams collect points from each regular season match to determine their ranking and seeding for the playoffs. The 2 teams winning their playoff matches play for the Season Championship. Players earn prize money for each court they win. Each member of the season Champion and Finalist teams receives a portion of the final purse based on the league’s budget for that year.
This post was created in collaboration with the 919 Blog editorial team for exclusive digital publication on 919Blog.com via The Triangle Blog Network