Anne Keothavong, Great Britain's No. 2-ranked singles player, sometimes goes by the nickname, "Special K." The Newport Beach Breakers sure hope the tennis player will be special for them.
The Breakers selected Keothavong with the first overall pick in the World Team Tennis Roster Player Draft Tuesday. Keothavong, 27, ranked No. 109 by the International Tennis Federation will make her WTT debut this July.
Since turning pro in 2001, Keothavong has won 17 ITF singles titles and five ITF doubles titles in her career. In February 2009, she reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 48 and has been a long-standing Fed Cup player for Britain during the past decade.
Earlier this year, she qualified for the Australian Open and made second-round appearances at both Memphis and Auckland. Recently, she lost in the first round of qualifying at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The Breakers selected Lester Cook with their second pick, bringing back a familiar face from last year's team. Cook was the Breakers' men's singles player in 2010, when Newport Beach finished 5-9.
The Breakers selected Travis Rettenmaier in the third round. He has two years of previous WTT experience. Both Cook and Rettenmaier are from California.
In the fourth round, Newport Beach protected the rights to Canadian player Marie-Eve Pelletier, who played for the team in 2009 and 2010.
The selection of Pete Sampras, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, in last month's Marquee Player Draft, along with the addition of Keothavong, Cook, Rettenmaier and Pelletier have bolstered the outlook of Breakers' Coach Trevor Kronemann for the 2011 season.
"We are looking forward to having Anne's great talent and personality here in Newport Beach as we chase the King Trophy in 2011," said Kronemann, the UC Irvine men's tennis coach who is entering his fifth season as the Breakers' coach. "Anne's team experience as a Fed Cup Player for England will be a great complement to the World Team Tennis experience that Marie-Eve Pelletier brings to the Breakers. This will give us a formidable duo that, along with the rest of our team, is capable of leading us to the championships."
The Breakers will play 14 regular-season matches between July 4 and 21, including seven home matches at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.
Visiting marquee players this summer including Lindsay Davenport (St. Louis Aces) July 5; Sam Querrey (Washington Kastles) July 11, and the world's top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan (Kansas City Explorers) July 13.
Tickets for the 2011 season will go on sale later this month. For tickets, sponsorship and more information, visit http://www.newportbeachbreakers.com or call Tracy Harris at (949) 660-1001.
The Breakers' primary beneficiary is the Hoag Hospital Foundation.
— From staff reportsCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun