LEXINGTON, Ky. (7/24/14) — The Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships draws a diverse crowd every year, but among the players in this year’s tournament is an unexpected name: Mark Ein.
Ein, 49, is the founder and owner of the Washington D.C. Kastles, his hometown’s World Team Tennis franchise. He is also an investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
And, he’s a tennis player. And, he’s former UK tennis standout Jesse Witten’s doubles partner this week. He and Witten met when the Bradenton, Fla., native played for the Kastle’s archrival, the NY Sporttimes.
“Jesse was always on the other side of the net when they won by a couple of points,” Ein said. “I respected him, and I like him as a person, and I like his enthusiasm. He also gives back. Those are the type of people I gravitate toward.”
It was Ein’s own penchant for giving back that led him to start his own WTT franchise in D.C.
While growing up in D.C., Ein played a lot of tennis but gave it up in college to pursue other dreams and picked it up again 15 years ago. (This is the sixth pro tournament he has played.)
After just six years in the league, the Kastles have captured the coveted King Trophy four times by winning the WTT Championship in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The 2011 team made history by becoming the first team in the 36-year history of the league to complete an undefeated 16-0 season.
“The idea was not about wins and losses, though, but about bringing people together and exposing them to a sport I love and that has given so much to me,” said Ein, who received the prestigious 2013 Jefferson Award for the Greatest Public Service by an Athlete.
“My greatest satisfaction is looking around the stadium and seeing 3,500 people cheering in the stands and families together … there’s no greater feeling than that.”
Ein said he tries to live life to the fullest, and to him that means helping out others, whether it be individuals, businesses or organizations.
“Not to sound cliché, but I want to make a difference in everything I do,” he said. “Change the world and make it better.”
Coming to Lexington was an opportunity to go somewhere new, play with Witten and see former Men’s Wildcat tennis coach Dennis Emery, whom he considers a friend.
“I met Mark through Jesse,” said Emery, who invited Ein to play the tournament. “I love people who are as passionate about the game as Mark is. I thought it would be fun to have Mark play at a level he competed at when he was younger. As the owner of the Kastles, he knows a lot of the players, so it’s good to see his interaction with them.”
And, Ein’s impression of Lexington?
“Lexington is one of those places that actually measures up to what you thought it would be,” he said. “I’m excited to be here.”
Information provided by Rena Baer
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