Mark McIntyre was recently sworn in as the USTA Eastern president, following a two-year stint as the organization’s vice president. McIntyre has been a staple of the New York tennis community for years now, and was integral in helping United Sports Publications Ltd. launch New York Tennis Magazine. Four years later, New York Tennis Magazine has met and exceeded the goals set forth by McIntyre when the publication was first launched.
“Maybe I’m just old-fashioned or, perhaps, just old. But I still feel print media is important,” said McIntyre. “People get more of a kick out of seeing their name in print than online. I thought all of us in the local tennis community would feel more a part of it. We would have a stronger sense of how we are all connected … if the tennis community was bound—literally bound—between the covers of a magazine.”
That has been the goal of McIntyre in his years serving the local tennis community, to bring people together in order to make it beneficial for everyone.
In pushing to start a magazine that serves the New York tennis folks, he thought it would help junior players find tournaments and events in the area much easier.
“I think it drives more juniors to tournaments. The thing about online tournament schedules is that you have to want to go there in the first place,” McIntyre said. “You have to know they are there. My hope is that more junior players thumbing through the magazine will discover that tournaments are there so they can then go online to register.”
He has served on the executive board of both USTA Eastern and USTA Metro, and says his proudest accomplishment in that time was the creation of the Youth Tennis Leagues (YTL).
“I worked for years trying to convince people that this was the way to go,” said McIntyre. “Inexpensive, easy online registration, coaching and matches, consistent time slots and locations—every Saturday night. The YTL mimics soccer and baseball little leagues and I think it’s going to be as popular as those someday if we have the vision to stay with it.”
McIntyre says that we need to give these programs and leagues time to work and develop before they can be deemed unsuccessful.
“Too often in the tennis world, we abandon pilots if they don’t pay off right away,” explained McIntyre. “Gratification is rarely instant. There is no quick fix.”
Expanding the YTL and continuing its growth is one of McIntyre’s main initiatives as the new USTA Eastern president.
He also wants to bridge the gap that separates people within the tennis community and eliminate what he sees as a “cut-throat” type of attitude.
“Years ago, when we started to improve the courts (Riverside Clay) and they became more popular, more used, some folks complained loudly that we were ruining the courts, as though more people using a public facility was a bad thing,” McIntyre recalled. “Basically, they didn’t want to share. They wanted the courts to be empty so they could walk on whenever they wanted and stay as long as they pleased. Entitled, selfish … call it what you will. It’s small-minded and it’s bad for our sport.”
As McIntyre continues his work with the Riverside Clay Tennis Association (RCTA) and steps into his new role as USTA Eastern president, he will bring with him his same goals.
“We need to stop seeing each other as competition,” he noted. “We have to see the possibilities of limitless participation—a growing pie, as it were—instead of a finite group of players, and we each are trying to protect our share of the pie. It’s not a zero sum game, and if we work together more to grow tennis, we will all benefit.”