2017 New York Empire Season Wrap-UpAugust 16, 2017
The New York Empire presented by Citi completed their second season of Mylan World TeamTennis with a 7-7 record, vaulting the team to third place in the league. The Empire, led by coach Gigi Fernandez, won four of their seven home matches, including two pivotal wins the last week of the season, to clinch their spot in the top half of the League’s standings.
A newcomer to the team and the League, Belgian rookie Kirsten Flipkens made an immediate impact, winning 51% of her games in Women’s Singles, including key victories over Yanina Wickmayer and Sloane Stephens, among others. Flipkens also made up half of a formidable Women’s Doubles team with Maria Sanchez. Flipkens and Sanchez adapted well to each other’s style of play throughout the season and won crucial sets over the Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington Kastles to keep the Empire in playoff contention until the last day of the season.
British natives Neal Skupski and Marcus Willis both returned from last year’s team. Willis’ energetic personality and booming lefty serve were happily welcomed back for matches in CA and for the team’s final home matches. He won a thrilling 5-4 deciding set over Springfield’s Benjamin Becker to seal victory for the Empire in their final home match. Skupski, a doubles specialist, played both Men’s and Mixed Doubles and hit 25 Mylan Aces over the course of the season. Former Top-10 player Mardy Fish also joined the team for 8 matches, including his memorable Extended Play win over Teymuraz Gabashvili of the League-winning Orange County Breakers.
John Isner and Genie Bouchard rounded out the Empire’s roster, with each winning a 5-2 singles set, respectively, and getting the crowd hyped up on Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
As the sole female coach in the League, 17-time Grand Slam champion and 2-time gold medalist Gigi Fernandez showed all of her prowess in helping the team to more than triple its number of wins from a year ago.