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Breakers ready for action

Team, which opens World Team Tennis season Sunday night, features strong Orange County flavor.

July 07, 2013|By Matt Szabo

For the second straight year, the Orange County Breakers have a totally new roster of players.

But the 2013 Breakers scream "Orange County," perhaps more than any other team in the Mylan World Team Tennis franchise's 11-year history.

Steve Johnson starred at Orange High, and his father, Steve Sr., is a Breakers assistant coach this year. Coco Vandeweghe lives in Newport Beach, and Breakers Coach Trevor Kronemann, who is back for his seventh year at the helm, lives in Mission Viejo.

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"We've got four of the people on our bench living in Orange County," Breakers General Manager Kerry Schneider said. "It's really cool, and pretty rare in World Team Tennis."

The Breakers open their season Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Bren Events Center on the UC Irvine campus, playing host to the Philadelphia Freedoms. The Texas Wild visit on Monday at 7 p.m.

The Breakers have 14 matches in the next 18 days, seven at home, concluding the regular season at home against the Springfield Lasers on July 24. The playoffs follow, with the conference championship matches July 25 and the finals July 28.

Last year's Breakers were the most successful in years, finishing the regular season 8-6 and advancing to the Western Conference Finals before falling to Sacramento. Orange County has just one WTT title, won as the Newport Beach Breakers in 2004, yet the squad appears to have a good chance to win the eight-team league this season.

Kronemann, who is also the men's tennis coach at UC Irvine and is in his 22nd overall season of WTT as a player or coach, said that this could be the most talented team the franchise has had in his tenure.

"Hopefully we can vie for that ever-elusive Billie Jean King Cup," Kronemann said. "I'm excited going into the season ... You've got to be excited. On paper, this is a really strong team."

Besides Johnson and Vandeweghe, the Breakers also feature Treat Huey and Maria Elena Camerin. Liga Dekmeijere will substitute for Vandeweghe for the final five matches of the season, as Vandeweghe will play the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, where she was a finalist last year.

Schneider said she got really good feedback at the WTT Roster Draft in March. She has met every player on the team as well, after picking up Camerin from LAX Airport on Friday, and said she expects this to be another fun team full of characters.

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