“If you really want to make the team a community platform that brings people together, there is no one better than Serena and Venus, who demonstrate the power of sport to change lives, having grown up in Compton and created the lives they have,” Ein said.
While Serena Williams isn’t playing for the Kastles this season, India’s Leander Paes returns, as does Russian-born Anastasia Rodionova. Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis of Switzerland will play selected matches as well.
“It’s fun to build something, to create something and be involved at a pretty detailed level,” Ein said. “This is a pure start-up. And behind most start-ups is someone who sees a need and has a vision for how it could be filled. To some extent, our customer is me as a kid. I know that kid, and I know what that kid and that family are going to want.”
Still an avid player, Ein is a frequent doubles partner of former touring pro Richey Reneberg, 47, a Bethesda resident and former world No. 1 doubles player who won the 1992 U.S. Open doubles title.
“Mark’s a very good player and very competitive,” said Reneberg, who works for a New York-based investment firm. “Even on days when it’s cooler or windy and conditions aren’t perfect, he’s always 100 percent in it. In everything he does, he has fanatical energy.”
As a tennis fan, that includes traveling to tournaments across the country and Europe, as his schedule permits, to cheer on members of the Kastles.
And as a WTT owner, it means obsessing over details — from helping drape free Kastles T-shirts over each seat in the stadium to providing an emergency flight home for a player with an ailing parent.
“Nobody invests more in their team — not just financially but from the heart,” said 1993 French Open doubles champion Murphy Jensen, 44, the Kastles’ voluble coach. “That’s Mark Ein. He’s the guy that’s calling me at 3 o’clock in the morning, inspired by something another team is doing and saying, ‘We’ve got to raise the bar!’
“And it rubs off. No front office, no set of interns, no set of fans post up like ours! There is nothing that he won’t give his team, professionally or personally, to be successful.”