The Springfield Lasers were established in 1996 by Springfield businessman, sports fan and philanthropist, the late Harry Cooper, who gifted the team to the City of Springfield. The team is managed by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, with ownership represented by Parks Director Bob Belote and John Cooper. Since their inaugural season, the Lasers have played home matches at Cooper Tennis Complex’s 2,500-seat outdoor stadium court, with an indoor court option during rain. The Lasers are now one of the oldest teams in the WTT league.
The Lasers won their first WTT Championship in 2018, after making it to the WTT finals in 2014, 2013, 2009, 2001 and 1999. Coach John-Laffnie “JL” de Jager has served as the Lasers coach since 2007, taking the team to four championship matches and named WTT Coach of the Year three times.
The team is comprised of professional players from around the world who spend the bulk of the year playing international tennis circuit. The team is drafted each March and it includes a mix of big names, seasoned veterans and up-and-coming stars. Jack Sock, John Isner, James Blake and Andy Roddick have all served on the Lasers roster.
The Lasers have brought some of the biggest names in tennis to play WTT in Springfield, including Martina Hingis, Sam Querrey, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, Larisa Neiland, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Anastasia Myskina, Rick Leach, GiGi Fernandez, Patrick McEnroe, Anna Kournikova, Zina Garrison and more.
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board’s Cooper Tennis Complex opened in 1994, doubled in size in 2006 and underwent a major remodel in 2019. It includes 12 indoor courts, 17 outdoor lighted courts and the stadium court, a full-service pro shop with racquet stringing and grip services, locker rooms with showers, a fitness room with exercise equipment and free weights, a conference room and a large meeting area. The center was named 2000 USTA Outstanding Tennis Facility, Tennis Industry’s Champions of Tennis 2002 Municipal Facility of the Year, 2006 USTA Missouri Valley Section Facility of the Year, and 2016 USTA Outstanding Tennis Facility.
The complex has hosted Fed Cup play, ATP and WTA professional tournaments, NCAA II National Championships, National 12-and-under Championships, Missouri High School Championships, 2018 NCAA Missouri Valley Tennis championships and numerous USTA events.
For more information on Springfield Lasers, contact Cooper Tennis Complex, 2331 E. Pythian Ave., Springfield, MO, 65802 or 417-837-5800, or look for Springfield Lasers on Facebook or @SGFLasers on Twitter and Instagram.