The Salem News
---- — MANCHESTER — With an intriguing mix of Mylan World TeamTennis veterans and rising young stars, the Boston Lobsters pro tennis team hopes that this season will bring them their first league championship.
Boston put together their 2014 team last week at the Mylan WTT Roster Draft in Indian Wells, Calif. The Lobsters went with a new face with the third overall pick, selecting 23-year-old Canadian Sharon Fichman. The Toronto-born standout is new to Mylan WTT but is one of the rising stars on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, ranking No. 89 in the world in singles and No. 59 in doubles. She teamed with American Maria Sanchez in January to win her first WTA Tour doubles title in New Zealand.
Fichman will be paired in women’s doubles for the Lobsters with another new face: American doubles specialist Megan Moulton-Levy. Moulton-Levy will be playing in her second straight season in Mylan WTT after spending last year with the Sacramento Capitals. The 29-year-old from Grosse Pointe, Mich. is currently ranked No. 54 in the world. Last year, she won her first Grand Slam doubles match at the Australian Open and went on to win debuts at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.
Fichman and Moulton-Levy join two Mylan WTT veterans, Eric Butorac and Rik de Voest, to round out the core of the Lobsters’ roster. John Isner, the top-ranked American on the ATP Tour at No. 10, also joins the Lobsters for one match this July.
Robert Greene is the team’s new coach.
“This is an exciting team,” said Lobsters general manager Darlene Hayes. “We got the players we wanted at the draft and believe this team could do very well this summer. Most of these players actually have experience playing tournaments with each other, so that familiarity should give us great team chemistry. Talent, experience and chemistry will win a championship ... and we have the right pieces in place.”
Fichman, who will be playing her first Mylan WTT season, is also excited about the team.
“I think it’s great. Megan is really very unique. She’s got real good hands. We played together last week and plan to play together this week in Miami,” said Fichman. “It’s a happy coincidence that we’ll get some matches under our belt. “Eric is a really good doubles player and Rik has a lot of experience on tour. He’s an accomplished player. It feels like the team’s structured in the sense (that) everyone has a role to play.”
Both Butorac and De Voest will be playing in their sixth Mylan WTT season this summer, providing Boston with a strong veteran presence.
Butorac has cemented himself as a fan favorite, as this will be his fifth straight summer with the Lobsters. The 32-year-old lefty is ranked No. 31 in doubles and has 15 career titles. He’s coming off an impressive performance at the 2014 Australian Open, where he and partner Raven Klaasen advanced all the way to the final and later defeated the Bryan Brothers for the second time in a row to capture their second team title in Memphis.
De Voest will be suiting up with the Lobsters for the first time this summer, coming in as the No. 186 ranked singles player in the world. In 2010, De Voest partnered with Springfield teammate Martin Damm to lead Mylan WTT in men’s doubles, so the 33-year-old should be a great fit with Butorac.
“I have known Eric for some years now and we have played doubles together before on tour, so I believe we will combine well and can be a successful team for the Lobsters,” said De Voest. “I also know the girls on the team and believe that the key to a good team is knowing and supporting each other.”
With the lineup of players available in the 2014 Draft, Moulton-Levy knew the draft was going to be extremely competitive and was thankful that her ultimate destination was with the Lobsters.
“I knew it was a tight draft and was very happy when I found it was Boston that drafted me. It made it that much better,” said Moulton-Levy. “I know Eric and played with Sharon last week and I know Rik pretty well. I played in Boston last year (with Sacramento) and the crowd was unbelievable.”