Kastles of World TeamTennis win 34th straight, claim 'major' record by passing '71-'72 Lakers

  • Article by: JOSEPH WHITE , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 9, 2013 - 9:45 PM

WASHINGTON — Martina Hingis and the rest of the Washington Kastles wasted no time putting on the red T-shirts, the ones that proclaim that they're now at the top of the list among the "longest winning streaks in major U.S. pro sports history."

And they even got congrats from the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Kastles of World TeamTennis won their 34th consecutive match Tuesday night, routing the Boston Lobsters 25-12. Their streak is one better than the storied run of the 1971-72 Lakers, a team that included Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West.

"We made history. Tonight is magic," said coach Murphy Jensen, sporting a white hat with the number "34." "This experience has been beyond belief. These guys have made a masterpiece, and this team will never be forgotten."

Such hyperbole is a matter for debate, considering that the WTT typically isn't considered a "major" sports league and that its top players appear only in selected matches, creating an atmosphere more comparable to that of a fan-friendly minor league baseball team.

The Lakers, on the other hand, had an undisputed landmark achievement that continues to stand as the high-water mark for the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball.

Still, winning 34 in a row on any level isn't easy. Among those tipping a hat to the Kastles was Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, who was involved with World TeamTennis in the 1970s as an executive for the Los Angeles Strings.

"Winning 33 consecutive games was an amazing accomplishment by our 1971-72 Lakers team, as evidenced by the fact that no other team has come close to reaching it for over 40 years now," Buss said in a written statement. "On behalf of the Buss family and the Lakers family, I want to congratulate the Washington Kastles, their players, and our good friends (WTT co-founder) Billie Jean King and (WTT Commissioner) Ilana Kloss on this milestone accomplishment of theirs."

The streak has brought invaluable publicity to a league that packs its entire season into a three-week span in July. Jensen's squad is 2-0 this season and is coming off back-to-back WTT titles, going undefeated both years. Washington's last loss came on July 22, 2010, also against the Lobsters. They've become the streamroller of the league.

"I've been really lucky to have had a great Olympic career and a great Davis Cup career," said the Kastles' Leander Paes, who remains one of the top doubles players in the world. "And this is exactly like that."

The streak has included both Venus and Serena Williams, although neither is playing for the Kastles this year. Venus Williams was supposed to make the occasional appearance as the star player in 2013, but she dropped out with a lower back injury. She was on hand to support her teammates Monday night when the streak reached 33, following the customary White House visit with President Barack Obama to celebrate the Kastles' 2012 title. First lady Michelle Obama also attended Monday's match.

With neither Williams on the squad, Hingis is now the Kastles' marquee player in her first year with the team. The 32-year-old Swiss, who won five Grand Slam singles titles in the 1990s and will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this month, paired with Anastasia Rodionova to win the women's doubles and with Paes to take the mixed doubles.

Hingis then cruised past Jill Craybas 5-2 in women's singles, pumping her fist and getting a big hug from Jensen after Craybas' shot landed long to end the set.

"We tried to beat the Kastles with my old team. We always got close," Hingis said. "So if you can't beat them, join them."

Paes and Bobby Reynolds wrapped up the match by winning the men's doubles 5-2 in front of a crowd that nearly filled the Kastles' 3,000-seat stadium along the D.C. waterfront.

Chamberlain, West, Jim McMillian, Gail Goodrich, Pat Riley and Flynn Robinson all scored in double figures when the Lakers won their 33rd in a row on Jan. 7, 1972, a 134-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks that improved Los Angeles to 39-3. The streak ended two nights later with a 120-104 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, who were led — ironically — by 39 points from future Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Perhaps the best reminder of the Lakers at the stadium Tuesday was the Kastles' public address announcer, who announced the game on stilts, making him more than 7 feet tall.

Streaks also come with superstitions, and Kastles owner Mark Ein was no exception. He donned the same brown dress shoes he wore when the team captured the 2009 title, the day that coach Jensen had all the players put pieces of tape on their shoes to symbolize team unity.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 10 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: N. Karns 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: A. Swarzak 2
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 5
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 8
Los Angeles - WP: C. Perez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5
Texas - WP: S. Tolleson 2 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Street 1
Philadelphia 6 Bottom 9th Inning
Oakland 6
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: C. Bergman 8
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 18 4th Qtr 0:18
Seattle 20
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Washington 1
St. Louis 1 2nd Prd 12:00
Columbus 1
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close