Photographing the 2014 Washington Kastles Season

For the fourth straight year in a row, I’ve had the incredible opportunity of working with the Washington Kastles tennis team here in D.C. I remember sitting on the court during my very first match in 2011, turning to my friend and fellow photographer Rich Kessler, and asking, “Wouldn’t it be something if they won the championship?” Well, they did, including the next three seasons that I’ve worked with them. The Kastles have lifted the WTT King Trophy four consecutive season and in those four seasons, they have recorded the longest winning streak in pro sports history with 34 consecutive wins. However, the best thing about this organization is not the winning or championships.

What makes the Washington Kastles special is the bond you feel when working with them. Doubles player Leander Paes said it best during the after-party following this season’s WTT Final in Springfield, MO. He talked about why the Kastles are so successful and credited it to the fact that even though we are all part of the team, everyone works together as a family. Listening to Paes while sitting at the table among the owner, coach, players, staff members, and friends, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride to be part of this family who do so much for each other and the Washington D.C. community.

This season was a lot different from the previous three. The main reason being that the matches would be held indoors at George Washington University’s Charles E. Smith Center instead of outside at The Wharf on D.C.’s southwest waterfront. So what did I think of when I heard this news? Air conditioning! Carrying several pounds of equipment in the sweltering July heat can be a bit much, so shooting indoors was a welcomed change. The only outdoor match I shot was when I traveled to Springfield, MO for the WTT Final. Luckily, there was a decent amount of cloud coverage that day to keep me cool and from baking in the sun.

Like the three previous seasons, this one ended with countless laughs and more new friends. Not to mention another championship. It was another thrilling season, and I can’t wait for next year as the Kastles try for a WTT record fifth straight championship. #RefuseToLose!

Photo: Austin Smith

WTT Final, Springfield, MO

The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO

Using Format