Cooper Tennis Complex should be abuzz with activity right now, with the Springfield Lasers playing World TeamTennis. But things are silent in Springfield, just as they are from the WTT office.
The Lasers, owned by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, announced on their website and Facebook page that the team will not play in July.
“Since 1996, Wimbledon and the month of July have signaled the start of the Springfield Lasers World TeamTennis season,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, Springfield will not see the return of the Lasers this month.”
World TeamTennis features some of the top professional players in the world competing in a team format. Every league match includes five sets — men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Past Lasers include tennis superstars like James Blake, Andy Roddick and Jack Sock. Other cities participating in WTT include Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Springfield hasn’t hosted a match since 2019. Both the 2020 and 2021 seasons were played in single sites, in West Virginia and California. That 2021 season in California was played in November, instead of the league’s traditional July schedule, and the Lasers advanced to the championship match before falling to Orange County.
But there are apparently no plans for a season at all, at least not yet.
“While World TeamTennis has made no official announcement, there is currently no 2022 season scheduled for Springfield or the other teams in the WTT league,” the statement said.
World TeamTennis has been quiet online since the end of the last season. The website hasn’t had new content posted since November 2021. The league’s Twitter and Facebook accounts haven’t posted since December of last year.
Still, there remains hope that the Lasers will return to Cooper Tennis Complex someday in the future. The Park Board said it is remaining in contact with longtime coach John-Laffnie De Jager as they await information from World TeamTennis.
“The Springfield Lasers and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board appreciate the outpouring of interesting and support for our hometown team, winners of the WTT Championship in 2018 and 2019, and runners-up in the 2021 season, played last November in Indian Wells, California,” the statement said. “It is our sincerest hope to bring Lasers tennis back to Cooper Tennis Complex in the summer of 2023.”