Former world No. 42 Jeff Tarango heads the list of a handful of highly-ranked former professionals set to feature at the 2014 ITF Seniors World Team Championships at Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton, Florida on 21-26 April.
Tarango will be joined by the likes of fellow former players Yves Allegro, Ivo Heuberger and Michel Kratochvil, who are all playing in the prestigious seniors event for the first time, and former WTA player and one-time conqueror of Jennifer Capriati at the Australian Open, Jolene Watanabe.
The team event, which takes place the week before the Seniors World Individual Championships and will involve 200 teams from 37 countries, will be hosted across several clubs in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton and is set for some high-quality action if the pedigree of players is anything to go by.
Tarango, for one, will compete in the Dubler Cup, the men’s 45 and over division, for the USA. He has already enjoyed success at the Seniors World Individual Championships, having won the men’s 40 category in 2012, and will hope to pick up further honours in the team event.
While something of a diminutive player at 5’11”, the 45-year-old lefthander was a two-time ATP singles titlist during his professional career, picking up trophies on the hard courts of Tel Aviv and Wellington in 1992. He also won 14 doubles titles and reached a career-high ranking of No. 10 in the team discipline in 1999, a year most notable for his runner-up finish at Roland Garros alongside Goran Ivanisevic.
The men’s 35 age category has a particularly strong field, with former Swiss Davis Cup players Heuberger, Kratochvil and Allegro all set to make their seniors debuts.
Kratochvil, who turns 35 on 7 April, reached a career-high No. 35 in the world in 2002, a year after finishing a runner-up in ATP finals at Tokyo and Shanghai. He has an impressive tennis CV, having recorded wins over the likes of Andre Agassi, Tomas Berdych and David Nalbandian during his career. He also defeated Nikolay Davydenko and Radek Stepanek en route to reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2002, eventually losing to Tim Henman in a thrilling five sets.
Former world No. 102 Heuberger also took on some of the biggest names in tennis, facing the likes of Arnaud Clement and Carlos Moya while on Davis Cup duty, while former doubles world No. 32 Allegro, a close friend of 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, won two of his three career doubles titles with the great Swiss at Vienna in 2003 and Halle in 2005.
Austrian Werner Eschauer is the most notable name set to take part in the men’s 40 age category, having once ranked as high as No. 52 in the world after notching up impressive wins over Guillermo Coria, Carlos Moya and Fabio Fognini during his playing days.
American and former WTA world No. 72 Watanabe headlines the nominations for the women’s team event. She competed at the Australian Open on six occasions during the 1990s and recorded landmark wins over the well-established Jennifer Capriati and Flavia Pennetta.
Watanabe is set to compete for USA in the women’s 45 and over event, the Margaret Court Cup.
The 34th edition of the Seniors World Team Championships will see the seniors compete in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton for the first time, 12 years after the event was last held in Florida - at Fort Lauderdale back in 2002.