Madison Brengle hopes her second season with the Washington Kastles can live up to her first.
New to the squad last year, Brengle is now an integral part of a potent team that seeks to claim its sixth straight World Team Tennis (WTT) championship.
Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen used Brengle extensively in both singles and doubles matches during the 2015 season. She went 6-4 in singles sets and 5-3 in doubles, where she was paired with Anastasia Rodionova. Brengle also clinched the final point in the 2015 Mylan WTT Finals, helping the Kastles net their fifth straight title.
“Being a part of the DC team last year and winning the last championship point was just so exciting, and so much fun to be a part of,” Brengle says.
The athlete, who previously played for the Delaware Smash in 2008 and the Kansas City Explorers in 2011, says she has taken to the District quickly.
“I absolutely love DC,” she tells On Tap. “The crowd is fantastic. They get so into it, and it’s so much fun playing in this atmosphere. And there is always so much to do in DC, but I’m pretty partial to the Smithsonian museums.”
Brengle was born in April 1990 and raised in Dover, Del. in a family with strong tennis roots. Her mother comes from a tennis background and started her playing by the age of two.
“I enjoyed watching so many different players growing up,” she says. “In the 90s, there was this great variety of game styles starting to mix, so it was always fun watching and learning from everyone.”
At 17, Brengle decided to bypass playing tennis in college and went straight for the pros.
“I decided to give it my best shot, and will go to college when I finish playing professionally,” she says.
That decision seems to be working out very well for Brengle. She began 2015 by reaching her first Women’s Tennis Association final in Hobart (the capital of Tasmania, Australia) and followed it up with a fourth-round showing at the Australian Open, her best major result. She recorded her first Top 10 win by ousting world No. 4 Petra Kvitova en route to the semifinals in Stuttgart, Germany in April 2015. Her career high singles ranking to date is No. 35, as of May 2015.
Lately, she’s been preparing for the rigors of the 2016 WTT season, which kicks off for the Kastles on the road against the New York Empire on July 31. The team then comes right back to DC to play their home opener on August 1 against the Springfield Lasers.
A coed professional league that was founded in 1973, the WTT today features six teams, including the Kastles, Empire, Lasers, Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms and San Diego Aviators. Matches between the teams consists of five sets, including men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
The 2016 regular season is scheduled to run July 31 to August 13. The top two teams advance to the Mylan WTT Finals on August 27, which will be held at a site (TBD) in the New York City area.
The Kastles’ roster this year includes newcomers Mardy Fish and twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan. Brengle, Rodionova, Leander Paes, Sam Querrey and Martina Hingis return from last year. Players not returning include Rajeev Ram, Venus Williams and Denis Kudla.
The WTT includes several household names, such as Andy Roddick, Caroline Wozniacki and Hingis, who is returning for her fourth straight season with the Kastles. Hingis has won five Grand Slam singles and 12 doubles titles. She is one of only six players in WTA history to be ranked No. 1 in singles and doubles simultaneously.
“It was awesome getting to be on the team with her,” Brengle says of Hingis. “She has an incredible way of looking at the game, and her advice is so valuable.”
With a full season under her belt, Brengle hopes she can once again get the Kastles a season-clinching point and a sixth straight title.
Catch Brengle and the rest of the Kastles in action at their first home match on August 1.
Kastles Stadium at The Smith Center: 600 22nd St. NW, DC; www.washingtonkastles.com
Photos: Courtesy of The Washington Kastles