| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

A Message From USTA Eastern Metro Region President Jackie Clark
The first time I picked up a tennis racquet, I immediately fell in love with the sport of tennis. It was not in a tennis club or a country club where this happened, but on a somewhat beat up tennis court with cracks and dips all over in a local park. At that moment, I knew tennis and I were a match made in Heaven. I loved playing and competing, and although my family could not afford private lessons or summer tennis camps, I always knew that tennis would have a major impact on my life, forever. After college I started playing again in the public parks and loved going to the tournaments at Madison Square Garden, The Hamlet Cup, and of course, the U.S. Open. One year at the U.S. Open, I walked over to the USTA Membership Booth to see what the USTA was all about, and of course, to get the free giveaway. I immediately envisioned myself in that booth one day telling visitors about USTA’s programs and leagues, and encouraging people who never actually played tennis to get started.

I have learned over time that it is truly all about vision. As the USTA Eastern Metro Region President, I am so excited to be working with a group of very talented and motivated tennis enthusiasts who share the same vision … to grow tennis participation in New York City and to give people of all ages, diversity and economic backgrounds the opportunity to play the sport that we all love. Whether it is playing competitively in a USTA Adult League or tournament, as part of Junior Team Tennis or in a 10 & Under Tennis program, parks and recreational programs, or Adaptive Tennis and Wheelchair Tennis programs, we are dedicated to promote and develop opportunities for all to play tennis.

The USTA Metro Region Board is ready to lock arms and work together to get everyone playing tennis. This passionate group of volunteers is looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting out into the communities across all the five boroughs of New York City. It is our mission to get everyone out, hitting the ball and having fun.

Appointed in 2013, Jackie Clark is currently president of the USTA Eastern Metro Region and is also an executive board member of the USTA Eastern Section. Clark also serves on the USTA National Membership Services Committee since 2009. She has been second VP of the USTA Eastern Metro Region and a board member since 2009. Clark also served as chairperson of the USTA Eastern Adult Competition Committee, 2010-2012. She is an avid USTA Adult League player and competes on many women's and mixed-doubles teams in the Metro, Long Island and Southern Regions of the Eastern Section. Clark has been a school counselor at Commack High School for the last 15 years and has coached the varsity boys and junior varsity girls tennis teams. She has also been a strong advocate of parks and recreation programs and has directed the Smithtown Parks tennis program for the last 12 years.



 

Queens College Hosts USTA 10 & Under Workshop
More than 20 participants recently braved the winter weather to participate in the USTA 10 & Under Workshop at the Queens College Tennis Center. The event, hosted by Head Tennis Pro and Queens College Men’s Tennis Head Coach Wayne Martin, took place at the newly-renovated indoor facility on the Queens College campus in Flushing, N.Y. The purpose of the instructional event was to educate coaches, parents and other tennis instructors on the best way to work with young children to foster a love of tennis. The event featured Coach Martin and also had teaching tips from USTA clinician, Chuck Russell.



 

USTA Eastern Metro Region Awards $5,000 in Grants
The USTA Eastern Metro Region has awarded $5,000 in grants to increase tennis participation and support tennis programming, across New York City. The grants of $1,000 each are being given to Harlem SERVES, New York Tennis Association, The Knickerbocker Field Club, Metropolitan Tennis Group and The New York Foundling.
“We are very excited to award these grants,” said Jackie Clark, president of the USTA Eastern Metro Region. “Each of these organizations are working hard to grow tennis participation throughout our diverse city and we are so happy to support them.”

Harlem SERVES (New York, N.Y.) Harlem SERVES is a program dedicated to 10 & Under tennis using the QuickStart format. They are an outreach program even though they have facilities to use. The group is capable of setting up anywhere i.e. gymnasium, hall and classrooms because of the QuickStart play format. They are not just a tennis "program," providing a network of resources, life-skills, and education to every organization served, they also work in conjunction with Harlem Hospital to provide free health screenings for youth and adults called "Health Day". For more information about Harlem SERVES, e-mail harlemserves@gmail.com.

Photo credit: Patricia Lowry
The Knickerbocker Field Club (Brooklyn, N.Y.) offers an eight-week instructional program every summer for kids on three of its five courts. Through personal contacts and word of mouth, 45 neighborhood kids, ages five through 18, have flocked to the club for a chance to play tennis, incorporating both fitness and fun! For more information about The Knicks, call (718) 856-5098.

The New York Foundling (New York, N.Y.), founded in 1869, is one of the country’s oldest and largest social service agencies, touching the lives of more than 13,000 of the community’s neediest residents each year. A diverse network of programs provides care for families with a range of social, economic, medical and psychological needs. The tennis program at Haven Academy will support tennis programming for disadvantaged children, increase tennis participation for a population that does not normally have exposure to the sport, and will foster diversity within the sport of tennis. For more information about The New York Foundling, visit www.nyfoundling.org.

New York Tennis Association (New York, N.Y.) which works to create and maintain opportunities for members of the American Tennis Association across the region, to compete, develop and network through the sport of tennis. Preserving the history of African-American’s in the sport of tennis, the group provides scholarships for incoming and existing college students who are ATA members and is working to fight against obesity in the community by offering tennis oriented health and fitness initiatives. For more information about NYTA, visit www.americantennisassociation.org.

Photo credit: Metropolitan Tennis Group (MTG)
Metropolitan Tennis Group (MTG) (New York, N.Y.) was formed to provide its membership with expanded opportunities to play recreational and competitive tennis. The organization also serves as an alternative social forum for all members of the LGBT community. The group holds monthly singles and doubles parties, has a winter doubles league and a singles ladder during the summer. For more information about MTG, visit www.metrotennisgroup.com.



 

Metro Region Kicks off JTT Season at Home of the U.S. Open
USTA Eastern’s Metro Region began its Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) season in style in February, with a fun-filled kick-off party and registration session at the home of the U.S. Open, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Kids got a chance to play tennis in a variety of formats–on courts, on tables and on the Nintendo Wii–while parents got to learn about the program and sign their kids up for the winter season.

“The event was a great way to start the JTT season in New York City,” said Esu Ma’at, tennis service representative for the USTA Eastern Metro Region. “This year, the kids will get a chance to compete on teams, improve their skills and most importantly, have fun playing tennis with friends.”

Any current USTA member, ages six through 18, can play JTT, which features co-ed teams for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. Each team match consists of five individual matches: Boys singles, girls singles, boys doubles, girls doubles and mixed-doubles.

JTT is run by a committee led by Mel Swanson, JTT Coordinator for the USTA Eastern Metro Region. In addition to Swanson, the committee includes Jonathan Williams and Joani Akpan.

For questions regarding JTT or to sign up, call (718) 789-5084, e-mail msvolley60@yahoo.com or visit http://eastern.usta.com/jrteamtennis.


Esu Ma’at, tennis service representative for the USTA Eastern Metro Region, addressing the crowd


USTA Eastern Section Vice President Mark McIntyre with Mel Swanson, JTT Coordinator for the USTA Eastern Metro Region



 

New USTA Metro Board Takes Office
A new group of volunteers will be bringing their talent and energy to grow tennis in New York City on USTA Eastern’s Metro Board.  At the Section’s Annual Meeting on Jan. 26, the new Metro board took office, with Jackie Clark as Regional President, Daisy Schwartz as First Vice President, Nelson Kier as Second Vice President and Allon Lifshitz as Secretary. The borough representatives are: Charlotte Oestreicher Ganberg (Bronx); Pablo Sierra (Brooklyn); Jeffrey Fairbanks (Manhattan); Deborah-Rose Andrews (Queens) and Don Malech (Staten Island).
All board members are volunteers and serve two-year terms.

“I am extremely fortunate to be working with such a talented and enthusiastic group of people on the Metro board,” Clark said. “Their dedication and passion for the sport will help us grow tennis among players of all ages and abilities throughout the city.”

On Jan. 26, USTA Eastern also honored more than 35 juniors, adults and organizations, as the section held its annual awards Luncheon and Dinner at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in White Plains, N.Y.

Credit photos to James Alfalla


USTA Metro Region meeting participants and attendees at the Eastern Annual Conference

 


Metro Region junior award winners Felipe Osses-Konig of Rego Park, N.Y., winner of the Lawrence A. Miller Boys' 16 Sportsmanship Award

 


Brianna Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y., winner of the Edith Martin Girls 14 Sportsmanship Award

 


Greg Jackson of Brooklyn, N.Y. was honored with the Regional Volunteer of the Year (Metro)

 


Sabrina Xiong of Fresh Meadows, N.Y. was recognized with the Lawrence A. Miller Girls 16 Sportsmanship Award

 


The Spigner Family with executive director of USTA Eastern, Jill Fonte, and Gerry Cuva, president of the USTA Eastern Board of Directors, as they were honored with the USTA Eastern Family of the Year Award

 


Deborah-Rose Andrews of Queens, N.Y. was the proud recipient of the USTA League Award

 


Bob Ryland of New York, N.Y. received the Eastern Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award



 

RCTA vs. Sandy … RCTA Wins 0-6, 6-0, 6-0
Credit photos to Mark McIntyre
A surging Hudson River crested over eight feet above its banks during Hurricane Sandy, completely engulfing the 96th Street Red Clay Tennis Courts in Riverside Park and leaving a thick deposit of black mud on the beautiful red clay. More than 70 RCTA volunteers turned out in the ensuing days to rake, scrape and remove the muck and mud, and thanks to their efforts, the public courts were fully restored by the end of the week.
"When I first saw the courts the morning after the storm, I was convinced we would not be able to reopen till the spring,” said Riverside Clay Tennis Association (RCTA) Executive Director Mark McIntyre. “There was mud everywhere, and I thought it would take weeks—maybe months—for our small staff to scrape it off. We worked very hard for a few days and made some progress—but with 10 courts, it just felt like an overwhelming, quixotic task. So I sent an e-mail to our members asking for some help, and the next day, over 70 people showed up. It was amazing. Parents, kids, seniors … so many people came out—and it was a pretty chilly day. By the late afternoon, all the mud was gone. We opened the next day."