- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Serena Williams will be back in Washington this summer.

The Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis selected the world’s top-ranked female player during the league’s annual marquee player draft Tuesday.

Williams, who on Saturday won the Australian Open to secure her 10th Grand Slam title, also played for the Kastles during the team’s debut season last year. She will appear in one home match in the District and play three road matches.

The team’s final roster will be set on March 31.

The 27-year-old played in Washington last year four days after losing to her sister, Venus, in the Wimbledon final. Following the Kastles’ season, Williams went on to win the U.S. Open in September. Her appearance in the Australian Open final last week secured her not only the world’s top ranking, but her place as the highest-paid female athlete in history, with more than $23 million in career prize money.

Williams has a sister who lives in Washington, and over the years she has visited the Southeast Tennis and Education Foundation in the District.

“We’re excited, and I think she’s excited,” team owner Mark Ein said. “She really loves playing Washington. It’s looking good. She’s as determined as ever and I think it’s going to be good to have her back.”

The Kastles last year finished with a record of 6-8, earning a fourth place finish in the Eastern Conference and falling short of a playoff berth.

The Kastles schedule for this season has not been announced, but a team spokesman said visiting marquee players will include Venus Williams of the Philadelphia Freedoms, John McEnroe of the New York Sportimes and Anna Kournikova of the St. Louis Aces.

World TeamTennis is entering its 34th season. Founded by Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, the league’s matches consist of five events including men’s and women’s singles and doubles, plus mixed doubles.

Last year, the Kastles played in a temporary stadium built at the site of the Old Convention Center in downtown. The team could return there, but negotiations with the city are ongoing.

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