DC Sports Day

Kastles Sign 2018 Indian Wells Champion Naomi Osaka, Add Second Home Match For Venus Williams

Naomi_Osaka_(Wikimedia-Peter Menzel)

It’s going to be a star-studded summer at Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center this July, as the Washington Kastles are thrilled to announce the addition of one of the hottest players on the WTA Tour and 2018 Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka to the 2018 home roster. World #22 Osaka will headline the Kastles regular season home finale on Saturday, July 28 against Billie Jean King’s Philadelphia Freedoms.

The final week of home matches will be superstar central for the six-time champions of World TeamTennis presented by GEICO, as Kastles legend Venus Williams is now scheduled to play back-to-back nights on Wednesday and Thursday, July 25 & 26 at Kastles Stadium.

The Kastles, with a 2018 lineup featuring Williams, Osaka, the Bryan Brothers and local rising star Frances Tiafoe, will be looking to pick up their league-record seventh King Trophy when the home schedule kicks off on July 16 as the College Park, Maryland native Tiafoe leads the Kastles vs the New York Empire. Tiafoe won his first ATP World Tour singles titles earlier this year and is ranked in the top 60 in the world for the first time in his career. The rest of the Kastles lineup includes Tennys Sandgren, the fourth-highest ranked American male in the world who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year and the US Clay Court finals last week, Kastles veteran Madison Brengle and doubles stars Robert Lindstedt and Nicole Melichar.

“Every single home match this season will feature either Venus Williams, the Bryans, Frances Tiafoe or Naomi Osaka, which is the most talented, most successful home roster we’ve put together in quite some time,” said owner Mark Ein. “It’s been three years since the King Trophy has resided here in DC, where it belongs, and the addition of Naomi Osaka and another match featuring Venus should go a long way towards bringing the championship home to Washington, for the best, most supportive fans in the league.”

Osaka is one of the fastest rising stars in women’s tennis. Born in Osaka, Japan, she began to make headway last summer at the US Open, where she scored her first win over a top-10 player, upsetting #6 seed and former US and Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber in the first round. Later that fall, she knocked Venus Williams out of Hong Kong in the round of 16, where Williams was the #2 seed at the tournament.

“I’m very excited to start my World TeamTennis career with the Washington Kastles,” said Osaka. “They’re a dynasty and I know their home matches have some of the best fans and crowds in tennis, so I cannot wait to play for them”

This year, Osaka has been even more successful. At the Australian Open, she reached the round of 16, before losing to world #1 Simona Halep. She then went on to stun the tennis world this March by winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, defeating Maria Sharapova in the first round, followed by a long list of WTA champions, including Agnieszka Radwanska, world #5 Karolina Pliskova, and Simona Halep, before besting world #14 Daria Kasatkina in the final, 6-3, 6-2. By doing so, Osaka became the third unseeded champion to win Indian Wells, following Serena Williams (1999) and Kim Clijsters (2005).

A week later, the Indian Wells champ put the brakes on Serena Williams, defeating the all-time great and fellow Kastles veteran in the first round of the Miami Open, again by a score of 6-3, 6-2.

V. Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion and eighth-ranked played in the world, will headline back-to-back matches against the San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers on July 25 & 26. The Kastles superstar is no stranger to DC sports fans. She will be returning to the nation’s capital for her seventh season, but this will be the first time Williams plays two nights at Kastles Stadium.

“I’m really happy to be returning to Washington this summer,” said Williams. “I love playing in DC. The Kastles and the fans have been very good to me over the years. The atmosphere inside Kastles Stadium is unlike any other in World TeamTennis. I’m looking forward to another great season.”

Season tickets are currently on sale with single-match tickets on sale later this spring. Fans are encouraged to secure season tickets now to see Williams, Tiafoe, the Bryan Brothers and the rest of the Kastles battle for their seventh title. A limited number of four-seat VIP tables and boxes are available, as well as individual seats with spectacular views in the Kastles Baseline Experience and Kastles Baseline Club. Season tickets start at $150 and can be purchased by calling 202-4-TENNIS (483-6647).