Elena Likhovtseva and Mark Knowles earn 2005 Female/Male MVP honors
Sacramento Capitals Sweep WTT MVP Awards
NEW YORK (Aug. 9, 2005) – Elena Likhovtseva and Mark Knowles, who helped lead the Sacramento Capitals to the Western Conference title in the WTT Pro League, were named 2005 World TeamTennis Female and Male MVP today. Likhovtseva and Knowles were both integral in helping the Capitals to a League-leading best 11-3 record and a chance to compete for the King Trophy at the WTT Finals next month.
A Sacramento Capital since 1999, Likhovtseva receives the top honor as her first WTT post-season award. Ranked in the top five of women’s singles with a .625 winning percentage over 40 games played, her success in women’s singles vaulted the Capitals to the top spot in team rankings for that event.
Likhovtseva’s strength in singles resonated in mixed doubles where she teamed with Knowles to help the Capitals capture a first place finish in mixed doubles with a League best .578 wining percentage. Continuing her success in team play, Likhovtseva guided the Capital’s women’s doubles team, along with teammates Nicole Vaidisova and Anna Kournikova, to an impressive .533 winning percentage.
“I didn''''t really expect to be an MVP. This is my first (post-season award) in six years,” said Likhovtseva. “It was a lot of fun playing with my team, having their support and the support from my fans at home in Sacramento. It was a good WTT year and I’m looking forward to the playoffs.”
Knowles’ 2005 Male MVP award adds to the Capital’s high caliber season. This is his second time receiving the honor. Considered a veteran leader for the Capitals, Knowles earned MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001. In his fifth consecutive season with the Capitals, Knowles’ presence was felt in both men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Leading the Capitals to first place in men’s doubles with Sam Warburg, Knowles posted a .617 win percentage. Similarly in mixed doubles, Knowles’ dominance continued as he contributed to a top-place finish with fellow MVP Likhovtseva and marquee player Kournikova.
“It’s nice to be recognized for my play but our focus all season has been winning as a team so everyone really shares in this honor,” said Knowles. “This wouldn’t have been possible without great play from all my teammates, the tremendous leadership of Coach Bryan and the support of these terrific Capitals fans.”
WTT will announce Rookie of the Year later this week with Coach of the Year to be named on August 16.
2005 WTT Semi-Finals and Finals (all times Pacific)
When: Semifinals: Friday, Sept. 16
Semis #1 - 3 p.m. New York Sportimes (9-5) vs. Boston Lobsters (7-7)
Semis #2 - 7 p.m. Sacramento Capitals (11-3) vs. Newport Beach Breakers (9-5)
Finals: Saturday, Sept. 17 - 3 p.m.
Where: Allstate Stadium at Sunrise Mall in Sunrise MarketPlace, Citrus Heights, Calif.
This year marks the 30th season of play for the World TeamTennis Pro League presented by Advanta. Billie Jean King and Larry King created the unique gender-balanced team concept in the early 70s. The format used for a WTT Pro League match features teams comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Each match consists of five sets, with one set each of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The two top teams from both the Western and Eastern Conferences will battle for the King Trophy at the WTT Finals, Sept. 16-17, in Sacramento, Calif.
Advanta is the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League and the official business credit card of World TeamTennis. Official WTT Pro League sponsors also include Gatorade, Head/Penn Racquet Sports (official ball) and Wilson Racquet Sports (official racquet). For more information on WTT, visit www.WTT.com.