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Perfect Kastles have time on their hands

The Washington Kastles finished their second consecutive season with a zero in the loss column and with that, their undefeated streak reached 30 matches.

At the beginning of the season, thoughts of going unbeaten again were laughed at, even by the team.

After 14 wins in a span of 19 days, concluding with a 25-14 victory over Springfield (Ill.) on Saturday, no one's laughing now.

"It's amazing," said Bobby Reynolds. "It's hard to put into words the feelings we have."

"It just doesn't seem real that we're talking about it for a second straight year," said coach Murphy Jensen. "It goes to show you that [with] the right team and right people, anything is possible."

After the condensed regular season, the Kastles will have to wait until Sept. 15 before the playoffs begin. The lengthy layoff is due to the Olympics and the U.S. Open, and World Team Tennis does not want to interfere as teams have players competing in both events.

Still, for teams that are used to playing every day or every other day, the break strays from the norm of WTT.

"It'll be tough on everybody," said Jensen. "Where we have an advantage is Leander [Paes] and Bobby playing together for three years and the Rodionova sisters [Anastasia and Arina] playing together for five years."

Reynolds will enjoy the seven-week break and looks forward to the Kastles' Olympians returning.

"Having Leander and Anastasia ... will be great," said Reynolds. "[The break] will definitely be different. With that being said, our team is so close and we play so good together, it won't have as big of an effect on us."

As for a team MVP, Jensen said it's impossible to decide.

"There's no one person of course. The star of the team is the team," said Jensen. "You've got leadership in Leander Paes and that's rubbed off on Bobby Reynolds ... and then Anastasia Rodionova dominated before going to the Olympics."

Going through the season undefeated was not easy, and had it not been for the superhuman play of Venus Williams in Albany, N.Y., on July 21, the dream may not have come true. Reynolds said that match defined the season.

"Playing in Albany, she was down six games going into the last set [against Martina Hingis]," said Reynolds. "We had already accepted defeat and were sad the streak was going to end, but the look in her eyes to come back from six games down was world class."

Williams defeated Hingis 7-0, the Kastles edged the New York Sportimes 21-20 and the streak lived on.

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