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The Springfield Lasers win the King Trophy at the World TeamTennis championship.
Photo provided by Springfield-Greene County Park Board
The Springfield Lasers win the King Trophy at the World TeamTennis championship.

Lasers win first World TeamTennis championship

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The Springfield Lasers won the King Trophy yesterday at the World TeamTennis championship for the first time in the team’s 23-year history.

The Lasers, who entered the championship final with a second-place 8-6 record, beat the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms by a score of 19-18. The Freedoms, who had a 12-2 season record, lost the championship in their home city, according to a news release.

“We’ve waited a long time,” said John-Laffnie “JL” de Jager, who has coached the Lasers for the last 12 seasons, in the release. “We won a lot of close matches. We never lost faith in our ability that we could win this, and tonight was very special.”

Miomir Kecmanovic, 18, was named MVP of the WTT finals after winning his men’s singles bout in the final set to secure the victory for the Lasers.

This year’s championships represented the sixth time the Lasers had a shot at the King Trophy. The team also advanced to the final in 2014, 2013, 2009, 2001 and 1999, according to the release.

“This is a banner day for the Lasers, the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the city of Springfield,” Springfield Mayor Ken McClure said in a separate release. “Congratulations, coach de Jager and the whole team. You have made us proud.”

A replica King Trophy — named after WTT co-founder and Freedoms owner Billie Jean King — will be created to display in Springfield.

Established in 1996 by the late Harry Cooper, the Lasers are managed by the Park Board and play home matches at the Cooper Tennis Complex, according to the release.

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