By Barry Janoff
February 17, 2016: Mylan World Team Tennis is in a New York state of mind, unveiling plans to return a franchise to New York for the first time since 2013.
The New York Empire will be coached by former world-class player, former Davis Cup captain and current ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe and include on its roster Andy Roddick, former world No. 1 and U.S. Open champion (2003), entering his ninth WTT season.
The Mylan WTT season, which usually begins immediately following the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament (June 27-July 10), this year runs from July 31- Aug. 13, just prior to the U.S. Open. The regular season (six home matches, six away) will be followed by the top two teams advancing to the Mylan WTT Finals on Aug. 27 in New York.
The U.S. Open will be played in New York's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Aug. 29-Sept. 11.
The WTT season coincides with the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (Aug. 5-21), with tennis competition scheduled for Aug. 6-14.
Roddick joined the World Team Tennis Ownership Group in 2013 along with Venus Williams, according to WTT.
In 2016, six teams will compete for the King Trophy, named for tennis icon and WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. The Empire replace the Boston Lobsters, which ceased operations, according to WTT.
Included on rosters in 2015 were John isner, Madison Keys, Matina Hingis and Venus Williams.
“As both a player and an owner I have always enjoyed all that encompasses Mylan WTT,” Roddick said in a statement. “To be able to play on the legendary courts at Forest Hills and be involved with a team in a city that I love, New York, will make this even more special.”
Among those who responded to the Empire news were singer Elton John, who wrote on his Twitter page, "Congrats to @BillieJeanKing on a new @WorldTeamTennis team launch. Excited to see @nyempiretennis at Forest Hills this summer."
In addition to New York, franchises for the 2016 season include five-time defending champion Washington (DC) Kastles, Philadelphia Freedoms (owned by Billie Jean King), Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, San Diego Aviators and the Orange County Breakers (relocated from Austin, Texas).
The six teams will fill their rosters during the Mylan WTT Player Draft on March 25 in Miami, which takes place as part of the Miami Open tennis tournament (Key Biscayne). A league schedule will also be release at that time.
The Empire fill a void created when the New York Sportimes moved to San Diego in 2013 after playing in the area from 2000-13, winning the WTT title 2005. The Empire will play in Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club in Queens, N.Y., former home of the U.S. Open.
In addition to title sponsor Mylan, official WTT national sponsors and partners include Geico, Wilson Racquet Sports, DecoTurf and the U.S. Tennis Assn.
Coverage includes 45 hours of live matches on ESPN3 and more than 250 hours of Mylan WTT matches and special programming on Tennis Channel, Comcast SportsNet, Altitude Sports, Mediacom and other regional sports networks.
ESPN3 will broadcast one match daily and ESPN2 will also air one featured match broadcast.
A season preview show and weekly highlight series will air internationally on five continents in more than 100 countries via such networks as Eurosport, Eurosport Asia, Supersport, Gaora, Fox Sports Australia and WHY TV.