For years, Reynolds was the Kastles’ closer, perennially last up in each of Washington’s home matches before switching to the team’s opening talent in his final season.
“Bobby was there for so long and did such a great job; you’re not going to replace him,” said Sam Querrey, a Mylan WTT veteran who, along with Denis Kudla, stepped in for Reynolds in men’s singles and doubles.
Joined by Madison Brengle, this American trio didn’t take long to gel with the Kastles’ remaining line-up, and the team proved to once again be a well-oiled machine.
“It was a bigger challenge because players were coming and going during the season,” Jensen admitted. “But to get them all to perform the way they did against an extremely tough team - to go out and blow them out, says a lot about out our organization.”
Keeping things organized is Paes, the Kastles captain and the 2015 Finals MVP; the 16-time Grand Slam doubles champion came roaring out of the box on Sunday against the Austin Aces, a team who had beaten the Kastles twice during the regular season.
“I’ve got a big ‘C’ on my shirt as captain, so I’ve got to get out on the court and do my business,” Paes said after winning both sets of doubles (men’s with Querrey and mixed with Hingis).
“I love coming in at the beginning of the night and just playing my heart out, playing for the fans, and setting the tone for the team. I was able to do that in the semifinals and I was able to do that again in the Finals. These are the stages that I kind of live for and through the whole season to do it night in and night out is something that I take pride in.”
Backing up Paes in mixed and women’s doubles was Hingis, who helped cement the Kastles’ historic streak in 2013, and was instrumental in leading the Kastles back to the play-offs -- the team was undefeated with the Swiss Miss on their squad.
“Playing with Leander is always a thrill because we’re just coming off the Australian Open victory and recently Wimbledon,” said Hingis, who also captured the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon with Sania Mirza. “We just know each other’s games so well, and it’s like we click right when we have to.
“It’s been the same with Anastasia the last couple of years, as well; we can rely on each other’s shots and know what to do on the court.”
Rodionova first appreciated the Kastles atmosphere from afar, watching younger sister Arina lead the Kastles to 2011’s perfect season.
“I sat on the bench and I just came to watch my sister play, but I told her and [Kastles owner] Mark Ein that if I’m ever going to be back playing WTT, that’s the only team I’m going to be playing for” said the Aussie, who recently earned her first Mylan WTT post-season award as Female Co-MVP.