through '94. It was a highly successful franchise, mostly under Coach
Greg Patton, the former UC Irvine men's tennis coach.
Palisades Club owner Ken Stuart met Friday with WTT co-founder and
director Billie Jean King, WTT president and chief executive officer
Ilana Kloss, Davenport and a Palisades Club member, Don Evans, who
reportedly is lining up Bank of the West as a title sponsor. Robert
Van't Hof, Davenport's coach and the Palisades Club's tennis director
emeritus, was also part of the meeting.
"I'm pretty excited," said Stuart, whose club hosted a U.S. Davis
Cup tie in 1997 and senior tennis exhibitions in 1998 and 2001.
"Billie Jean King really loved the club and loved the facility. She
signed a lot of autographs and talked with some members, and also had
a good chance to visit with Lindsay (a member of the U.S. Fed Cup
team, of which King is captain) ... Billie Jean was very clear. If
there's a sponsor, we do it, and if this thing goes through, Lindsay
will definitely play for us and be a part owner of the franchise."
Stuart said he did not know what the potential team's nickname
would be, but indicated a community-wide contest is a possibility in
Earlier this week, Stuart said his desire for the new Newport
Beach franchise would be to fill the four roster spots with players
with local ties -- Davenport, Rick Leach (a Palisades member),
Natasha Zvereva (formerly of Newport Beach and Palisades) and Taylor
Dent, the 1996 CIF Southern Section singles champion as a Corona del
Mar High freshman. Davenport lives in Laguna Beach and is a longtime
King told Stuart that WTT is poised to return to Southern
California and about a dozen other sites are being considered by the
league, which started in 1974. Jimmy Connors played for the former
Los Angeles Strings for several years. Sacramento has had the
league's only California-based franchise for about the past six
"My sense is that (Newport Beach) has a good chance (of being
selected by WTT)," Stuart said. "I told my secretary that I had a
similar feeling in my gut when I was talking to (promoter) Russ Cline