The referee stood on a painter’s ladder, the exuberant public address announcer went briefly without a microphone and a few hundred fans had their choice of a folding chair or a portable bleacher seat.
To capture their 24th consecutive World Team Tennis win, the Washington Kastles had to improvise as rain forced them to move midgame from their home stadium on the Southwest Washington waterfront to an indoor facility in East Potomac Park. It hardly slowed them down in a 24-13 romp over the Orange County Breakers on Friday night.
The inflatable walls of the indoor facility amplified the cheers from the crowd as Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes capped their 5-0 men’s doubles win an hour after it was suspended on the other side of the Potomac River.
“We’re back inside, this place is rocking,” said Paes, who said the team practiced indoors earlier in the day. “Playing in the bubble on the other side of the river, it’s amazing.”
In the following match, the Kastles quelled the absence of Arina Rodionova to win in women’s doubles, 5-4. Rodionova sat out the match with a left wrist injury and was replaced by Edina Gallovits-Hall, who teamed with Rodionova’s older sister, Anastasia.
The team rallied from an early two-game deficit as Gallovits-Hall began to grow comfortable. The Kastles clinched the tiebreaker after Anna-Lena Groenefeld failed to return Gallovits-Hall’s volley from the rear of the court.
“Look at how Anastasia played, look at how Edina played,” Paes said. “I mean, the team just rocks.”
The Kastles entered the night’s final match, mixed doubles, with a comfortable eight-point lead and cruised to an 5-2 win behind Paes and Rodionova. As he did in men’s doubles, Paes effectively used his backhand.
Both players will play in the Olympics; Paes with India and Rodionova with Australia.
“I love this team and I’m really feeling sad that I’m leaving,” Paes said. “I’m praying that the streak will continue even after I leave.”
Earlier at Kastles Stadium, Reynolds fell in men’s singles, 5-4, and Rodionova was a 5-2 winner in women’s singles.