Maria Sharapova joins Orange County Breakers for two WTT matches in 2020

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Maria Sharapova joins Orange County Breakers for two WTT matches in 2020

The 45th edition of the World TeamTennis will take place between July 12 - August 1, 2020, with nine teams fighting for the prestigious title and the biggest prize money ever. Orlando Storm and Vegas Rollers joined the action last year, creating more space for notable players to enjoy in this unique competition and bring even more fans to the stands.

This season, Chicago Smash is the new franchise that brings a former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and her coach who is the Chicago native. Staged on the well-known multi-colored court, WTT was the first professional sports league that featured men and women in the same team more than four and a half decades ago, guided by the WTA trailblazer Billie Jean King.

On May 9, 1974, WTT became the first regularly scheduled tennis service coverage on HBO, bringing the names like Andre Agassi, Kevin Anderson, Tracy Austin, Victoria Azarenka, Boris Becker, James Blake, Bjorn Borg, Bob and Mike Bryan, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick and many others.

The Springfield Lasers completed a thrilling 20-19 victory over the New York Empire to defend the title last August and the WTT Playoff will return to Orleans Arena at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on July 31 and August 1, with four best teams fighting for the title and the record-breaking prize money!

The organizers have increased it to a tremendous $5 million, with the added $1 million awarded in WTT Playoffs compensation, including a $500,000 bonus to the team that wins the King Trophy. Former world no. 1 and a five-time Major champion Maria Sharapova will embrace her eighth WTT season with Orange County Breakers and the ninth overall, signing to play two home matches in Newport Beach on July 28 and 29 against San Diego Aviators and New York Empire.

Making her WTT debut almost two decades ago in 2002 at the age of 15, Maria will compete for the Breakers for the first time since 2017, struggling to find the form on the WTA Tour in the last couple of years and having to deal with constant injuries.

The Breakers signed Sharapova as a Marquee Player during the Free Agency period, using the fact she didn't participate in WTT in 2019. Together with Sharapova, Steve Johnson, Kristyna Pliskova, Andreja Klepac and Luke Bambridge, hoping to reach the Playoff and fight for the title for the first time in three years.

"I'm excited to be back with the Breakers again," said Sharapova. "The competition in World TeamTennis is always strong and I am looking forward to playing in the team format again." "We are very excited to have Maria back with the Breakers," said Breakers coach Rick Leach.

"She is one of the toughest competitors out there and she has put together an incredible career. She'll be a great asset to the team, and I know our fans are looking forward to watching her play."