| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Adam Wolfthal

New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) honored Tennis Channel and Chairman & CEO Ken Solomon Thursday afternoon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. NYJTL is the largest provider of tennis and education services in the nation and serves more than 75,000 children in New York’s five boroughs in 26 schools and 68 community-based sites.

The Leadership Awards Luncheon is NYJTL’s major annual fundraiser drawing 400 guests annually to the sold out event that has been underwritten by the Lawrence B. and Frances Benenson Family Foundation since its inception in 1986. The 2013 Luncheon may be the best attended to date. Luncheon co-chairs are Lawrence Benenson, Peter Malkin, and Polly Scott. Honorary Chairs include Jeanne Moutoussamy Ashe, former Mayor David Dinkins, and USTA President  David Haggerty.

“The Tennis Channel is being honored in 2013 because it represents excellence in presenting all the benefits of playing tennis from the highest levels of the professional game to the joys of the every day player, “ said Dr. Deborah Antoine, NYJTL President & CEO. “Ken Solomon has been the driving force behind the growth of the Tennis Channel into more than 35 million homes nationwide.”

"The Support at this event is terrific" said Chairman of the NYJTL Board of Directors, Martin Goldberg. "The Board of Directors of the NYJTL thanks all who came out for the event and would especially like to recognize Principal Ed Tom for his great work."

"This is  the best time for this organization in a number of years" said Senior Director of Tennis and Program Operations at NYJTL Ron Nano. "The organization is very strong programmatically and with its infrastructure of very talented staff. The support in the room is amazing and we are all very proud and hope it will continue."

Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who recently provided hands on instruction more than 600 NYJTL participants at the Fall Tennis Festival, introduced Solomon. Recent past honorees have included Bill Ackman, Clay Hamlin, Billie Jean King, Howard Lutnick, and John McEnroe.

In addition to honoring Tennis Channel, NYJTL presented the following awards:

NYJTL Achievement Award: Amanda Rivera, 9, who attends Our World Charter School in Queens.

Irwin Askenase Sportsmanship Award: Chris Tham, 12, who attends Adrien Block IS 25 in Queens.

Principal of the Year: Ed Tom, who is the founder of Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics High School in the South Bronx.

Sports broadcaster Bill Macatee was the master of ceremonies, and ATP Player Council representative and Tennis Channel broadcaster Justin Gimelstob conducted the live auction of two VIP Grand Slam packages to the French Open, donated by Tennis Channel, and to the US Open, donated by USTA.

Credit all photos to Adam Wolfthal


NYJTL Achievement Award winner Amanda Rivera (right), who attends Our World Charter School in Queens, is congratulated by Justin Gimelstob (left)


Justin Gimelstob presents the 2013 Irwin Askenase Sportsmanship Award to 12-year-old Chris Tham, who attends Adrien Block IS 25 in Queens


Principal of the Year Ed Tom (right), who is the founder of Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics High School in the South Bronx, accepts his honor


Nick Bollettieri introducing the 2013 NYJTL Leadership Award Winner


Ken Solomon (right) and his father Steve (left) during his introduction by Nick Bollettieri


Master of Ceremonies for the Event, Bill Macatee of Tennis Channel


It was a packed house for the 2013 New York Junior Tennis & Learning Leadership Awards at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City