If you came to an Aviators match last season, you might’ve noticed a new member of the squad playing women’s singles and women’s doubles for us. After all, at 6’2”, Naomi Broady is pretty tough to miss. After making her mid-season debut for the Aviators on the road, Broady stepped right up and got to work for our team — all the way to the championship match. This year, she returns to San Diego once again, where she’ll be leading her new teammates in the quest to finish the 2018 WTT season on top.
A dominating figure everywhere on the court, whether on the baseline or at net, Broady will be a huge weapon for us in what are sure to be some hard-fought battles. Aviators Coach John Lloyd has already said that this season’s WTT teams all have a good shot at the title, and it’s going to come down to teamwork and players who can thrive in the high-pressure, fast-paced format of World TeamTennis. Fortunately for us, Broady brings both to the table. This will be Broady’s third year in WTT, so she’s got the team element down. She prides herself on being a boisterous presence even when she isn’t swinging her racquet and is cheering her teammates on from the sidelines. With the intensity of the season and the way the teammates support and lean on each other, the relationships forged in WTT don’t fade when the season concludes. “The family atmosphere really continues throughout the rest of the year. You continue to follow each other’s results, and you really do make lasting friendships,” she says.As for the competition, Broady thrives on the every-point-counts pressure, saying, “I really enjoy that side of tennis — the side that you really have to dig in and you get in this kind of dogfight! That’s my favorite part of it.”
She’s not shy about sharing why she loves playing TeamTennis. In addition to savoring the competitive environment, she says it also provides a great reset in the middle of the WTA year. “It’s actually one of the highlights of my season, especially after Wimbledon, which is such a special tournament but for British players it can be so stressful,” she explains. “It’s really the only time of year that we really have such an intense spotlight on us, but to have World TeamTennis in the middle of the season [following Wimbledon], it really refreshes and re-motivates me, and brings my enjoyment back for the sport.”
Broady doesn’t hold back about returning to San Diego, either. If her enthusiasm about being on the Aviators roster again is any indication of how well she’ll play, it’s going to be a fantastic season. “I was begging the team last year, ‘Please pick me next year! Please take me next year!’” she exclaims. “Everyone was so sweet and San Diego is amazing and so beautiful. I really couldn’t believe it when I saw that I got drafted again, so I’m so excited and grateful to come back.”
She’s looking forward to sharing the roster with a familiar name: fellow British player, Marcus Willis. “We’re the same age so we’ve grown up together, so I know him really, really well,” she says. And of course, she’ll be playing for another Englishman, our resident tennis legend, Coach Lloyd. “He’s very well known in British tennis. We’re such a small country everybody knows everybody or at least you know of them, so we both knew a lot about each other but had never actually formally met [before last season]. But, it felt like we knew each other for a really long time, and I just love John. Everybodyloves him,” she beams.
The Aviators have a formidable contender in Broady, whose career is on the move. She secured her first win on the WTA circuit this past April, taking women’s doubles in Monterrey, Mexico with first-time partner Sara Sorribes Tormo. Though the two didn’t meet until March in Indian Wells, they just clicked. “I said to her coach right after our very first match I said, ‘God we have such great chemistry together considering we’ve never spoken!’ Our mannerisms were very much the same we really relaxed at the same time and got pumped up at the same time so we were really in sync from the get-go, and I think that made the big difference for us,” she says. She hopes they’ll have an opportunity to partner again if they qualify for Roland Garros, though Sorribes Tormo is following the clay circuit and Broady is in Asia where, she says, she’s “avoiding the clay like Federer.” She’ll be looking to capitalize on the confidence that comes with her title in the upcoming months on the tour and during the WTT season.
That confidence, her competitive drive, and yes, her intimidating stature (which explains the nickname she says some of the South American players have for her – jirafa, or “giraffe” in Spanish) are just a few of the reasons why we can’t wait to welcome her return to Omni La Costa Resort & Spa this summer.