Traditionally, tennis is — in Philadelphia Freedoms star Taylor Townsend’s eyes — a lot slower-paced and quiet. In World Team Tennis, though, music blares from the speakers and the crowd is involved.
Townsend, a six-year veteran of WTT, said there’s nothing else like playing in a WTT match.
“The more noise, the better," Townsend said. "Usually tennis is quiet, and you cheer when someone plays a good point. In WTT, you cheer for whoever is on your team, whether it’s a good point or an error from the opponent, you just want the point and the game.”
The speed of WTT, both on and off the court, is what makes it so unique. The season began on July 14 and will wrap up this Sunday with the championship game in Las Vegas.
Heading into playoffs the Freedoms, are 11-3 overall and have clinched the No. 1 seed. Wednesday night, Townsend and the Freedoms suffered their first home loss to the New York Empire in the regular season finale, and they’ll them face again Friday in the semifinal.
Townsend feels confident in the midst of WTT’s high intensity and fast pace because she now knows how to deal with the pressure and the nerves.
“I think having the comfort of having played so many seasons and knowing what to expect is really great,” Townsend said.
With mainstays Raquel Atawo and Fabrice Martin in the lineup, Townsend says their familiarity with each other’s playing style makes roster changes easier to adjust to when they happen.
“We’re comfortable with each other and we know what to look for and what to expect out of each other,” Townsend said. “We do a lot of things together; we have a really great dynamic.”
After coming in second in the 2018 WTT Championship, the Freedoms are vying for another shot at the title. The format of the playoffs has changed, and with a semifinal round being added, Townsend thinks it might be more challenging than what she’s used to.
“Last year there was only a final, so just knowing that there is an extra step to get to be able to play for the King Trophy [adds pressure],” Townsend said.
The Freedoms didn’t know they would be facing New York until after they played Wednesday night, which Townsend said makes it harder to prepare heading into Friday.