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World Team Tennis cancels 2022 season; O.C. Breakers expected to return in ’23

The center court at Palisades Tennis Club during a 2017 match between the Orange County Breakers and the Springfield Lasers.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Orange County Breakers will not get a chance to defend their 2021 World Team Tennis title this summer.

World Team Tennis has canceled its 2022 season, the league announced Wednesday.

The league is planning to add expansion franchises and return to home match play in the summer of 2023, according to Eric Davidson, WTT chairman and chief executive.

“With the 2021 season finishing up in late November and the damage that COVID caused to our franchises, we decided against rushing to host a 2022 season so our teams can get healthy as we look to relaunch in the summer of 2023,” Davidson stated in a news release.

Davidson, a Laguna Beach resident, is also the owner of the Breakers’ home venue of Palisades Tennis Club. But Orange County has not had a chance to play home matches in Newport Beach since 2019.

In 2020, the league played all its matches at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. Last fall, the venue switched to Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and the Breakers won the King Trophy, their third in program history.

Members of the Orange County Breakers celebrate with the King Trophy after winning the World Team Tennis title last November.
(Ryan Loco / World Team Tennis)

But the league had just five teams last fall, down from previous years.

This year will be the first since 1980 that the league, co-founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King, will not play matches in some capacity.

“Everyone wanted to return to the model of playing in cities, but some of the franchises were more financially damaged than others coming out of COVID,” said longtime Breakers general manager Allen Hardison, who is also the league’s chief operating officer, in a phone interview Wednesday. “Not being able to host home matches, sell tickets and sponsorships locally clearly damaged some of the franchises. Everyone just kind of figured, let’s get healthy at the franchise level across the board, and we can come back and put our weight behind this thing in 2023.”

Hardison echoed Davidson that having only six or seven months to put together a 2022 season would have been very rushed.

He added that the Breakers will “definitely, 100%" be back in Orange County next summer.

“We’re bummed not to be able to get out there and run events, see our fan base out there cheering on the team,” Hardison said. “That’s certainly the biggest bummer of the whole thing, but we’ll be ready to rock and roll in ’23 and we’re really excited for that.”

Liz McNabb, a Costa Mesa resident who is a dedicated Breakers fan, was disappointed to hear the news of the season’s cancellation. McNabb has been a member at Palisades Tennis Club since 1998, she said.

"[World Team Tennis] provides a really nice event for people to go to during the summer season, especially if you can’t get to the U.S. Open or these other hard-court tournaments that are farther on the East Coast,” McNabb said. “I think that it’s a shame that it got canceled this year, but I think Eric Davidson is committed to the long-term viability and prosperity of World Team Tennis, which is a good thing.”

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